Madison County Highway Department Prepares for the First Winter Storm of 2019

A new tandem axle snow plow and a pick-up truck with a plow staged and ready to go if needed.

Madison County Highway Department is preparing for this first winter storm of 2019. The department led by Scott Harless, will have 15 new tandem plows and 4 pickup trucks out in the county keeping the roads plowed. Each township (13) has a tandem plow assigned to it, while 2 additional plows are available to assist as needed or escort emergency vehicles. The department utilizes pick-up trucks to plow smaller roads and areas not easily accessible by the large plows, such as neighborhoods.

Prior to the winter storm, Madison County has put down approximately 6,000 gallons of pretreat liquid brine on all blue line roads which will help enhance the melting process. The blue line roads are the primary county roads that are plowed first in each township in order to ensure emergency and other critical personnel are able to drive as necessary. Blue line roads for example would be 100W, 200E, 300E, 500N, 1000N, 500W, 200W, 200S and several others in the county. During the storm, the highway department has 32 employees that will work in shifts plowing while 4 personnel rotate in the maintenance garage working on equipment. “During a big snow event like the one forecasted this weekend, it takes the entire team at the Highway Department working together, 24 hours a day to maintain 890 miles of roads in rural Madison County” said Scott Harless. Scott would also like to remind citizens, these large trucks take up a lot of room on narrow county roads, please yield to the trucks and give them the right of way. Across the country, highway crews have adopted the saying, “Don’t Crowd the Plow” in an effort to educate drivers to give extra room to snow plows on all roads.

During the snowstorm this weekend, if you see some of our Madison County Highway crew-members taking a much-needed break, please take a moment to tell them thank you for the job they are doing. It takes a very highly skilled and experienced driver to keep a 70,000 lb. snow plow on the road in white out conditions, AND driving on snow packed slick and hazardous roads.

Thank you to all of our Madison County Highway Department employees!

Hazardous Materials Incidents

Hazardous Materials Incidents

Hazardous materials come in the form of explosives, flammable and combustible substances, poisons and radioactive materials. Hazards can occur during production, storage, transportation, use or disposal. You and your community are at risk if a chemical is used unsafely or released in harmful amounts into the environment where you live, work or play. The Madison County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC) is charged with the responsibility to ensure the community is prepared for a release of hazardous materials. Many communities have Local Emergency Planning Committees (LEPCs) whose responsibilities include collecting information about hazardous materials in the community and planning made available to the public upon request. Contact your local emergency management office for more information on LEPCs. The LEPC each year reviews the county’s hazardous materials plan and conducts training and exercises for first responders to be better prepared when these types on incidents occur. In addition to our first responders being prepared, our citizens need to be prepared as well.

Before a Hazardous Materials Incident

The following are things you can do to protect yourself, your family and your property from the effects of a hazardous materials incident:

Build an Emergency Supply Kit with the addition of plastic sheeting and duct tape
Make a Family Emergency Plan
Know how to operate your home’s ventilation system
Identify an above-ground shelter room with as few openings as possible.
During a Hazardous Materials Incident
Listen to local radio, television stations or watch official social media accounts for detailed information and follow instructions carefully. Remember that some toxic chemicals are odorless.

Preparedness Saves Lives

National Traffic Incident Response Week

Every minute of every day emergency responders across the country work tirelessly to help save lives at the scene of traffic incidents. Every year hundreds of emergency responders representing fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, towing and transportation agencies are struck and either injured or killed while responding. This type of secondary crash intensifies the impact to communities, individuals and the economy. We read about the tragedies causes by distracted driving almost every day and the emergency response community has the most to lose.

Help raise awareness about the dangers emergency responders face at traffic incidents this November 11th -17th.

Health Care Coalition Members Meet for Training

Earlier today, representatives from various healthcare facilities, as well as home healthcare providers, from around Madison County, IN, gathered at the Emergency Operations Center to review their emergency and disaster preparedness plans. Thirty-seven attendees participated in a table top exercise to test their preparedness plans and make notations of improvements or additions they need to make to be more prepared in the future. A tabletop exercise is designed to help an organization test a hypothetical situation, such as a natural or man-made disaster, and evaluate the groups ability to cooperate and work together, as well as test their readiness to respond. “It was an exciting group today who asked a lot of questions and shared best practices with peers in the industry” said Todd Harmeson, Deputy Director of Emergency Management.

The event was organized by the Madison County Health Department and facilitated by Tim Thomas. In addition, Angie Miller from Community Hospital Anderson provided information about the Healthcare Coalition group and Tom Ecker, Executive Director for Madison Co. EMA spoke about the our agency and our responsibilities to prepare, plan, mitigate and respond to disasters. This is the second time we have offered this workshop to our healthcare partners in Madison County and we are excited to see how much it grew this time. Each year we make this event available to our health care community throughout Madison County so they can be better prepared to serve their clients as well as fulfilling a requirement on their national accreditation program. In 2019 we will likely provide this training opportunity a third time and we expect our attendance to grow even more. Stay tuned for more training opportunities!

IPAWS National Test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The National EAS and WEA test will be held on Wednesday October 3, 2018, beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) on Wednesday October 3, 2018. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016, and September 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads “Presidential Alert” and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

During the test, this is a good opportunity to discuss your emergency preparedness plans with co-workers, family members, students and others who may be with you during the test. Preparedness is everyones responsibility and this is a good time to test your preparedness plans. For more information on disaster preparedness, check out

Do you have flood insurance?

EMA Followers;

Hurricane Florence, which has battered parts of the East Coast over the past few days, is a reminder of the importance of having flood insurance. Did you know that 80% of households impacted by Hurricane Harvey last year did not have flood insurance?

Although flooding is the most common and costly disaster in the U.S., most homeowners’ and renters’ insurance does not cover flood damage. As part of National Preparedness Month, we wanted to remind you to take a minute to check your insurance coverage. You can learn more about flood insurance here:

If you are already covered, make sure you take photos of important documents and personal belongings so you can file a claim quickly in case of a flood. Have you or your family been affected by flooding? If so, please feel free to share some lessons learned as a comment.

Building Your Disaster Supply Kit, 1 Item a Week!

In conjunction with National Preparedness month, we want to promote things you can do at home, work and school to help you be prepared.

Have you ever wanted to build a disaster preparedness kit but after paying your bills, feeding your family and covering day to day expenses, there is just very little left over and no way possible you could buy an entire disaster preparedness kit. Even if you could buy a kit, what needs to be put in your disaster preparedness kit? Well, Mr. B Ready has put together a simple plan to build a disaster preparedness kit 1 piece at a time, and 1 week at a time. Will this kit protect you tomorrow? Certainly not, but we have prioritized the items that belong in the kit and after a period of time, you will have the basic necessities covered in your kit.

Note: Always be sure to write the date on water, food, batteries etc when they are purchased. After your 1st year of building the kit, you will simply be rotating stock that expires going forward. This kit does not include medication that should be the first thing you set aside in your kit.

Week 1 – Purchase a plastic crate for storage

Week 2 – 1 Large Claw Hammer

Week 3 – Duct Tape (4 rolls)

Week 4 – Adjustable Wrench 12″

Week 5 – Flashlight and batteries

Week 6 – 2 gallons of water

Week 7 – 1 plastic jar of Peanut Butter

Week 8 – Protein Bars, Fruit Bars or Dry Cereal / Granola

Week 9 – Fire extinguisher

Week 10 – 1 Can Opener and 1 large box of matches

Week 11 – Canned vegetables (4 cans)

Week 12 – Battery powered radio / Batteries

Week 13 – First Aid kit or supplies

Week 14 – Blankets (1 per every 2 persons in the family)

Week 15 – 2 gallons of water

Week 16 – $25.00 cash in an envelope

Week 17 – Purchase a 2nd plastic crate for storage

Week 18 – Cellular phone charging cord

Week 19 – 1 plastic jar of peanut butter

Week 20 – Box of large plastic trash bags

Week 21 – Mosquito repellant

Week 22 – 2 gallons of water

Week 23 – Additional $25.00 cash in the envelope

Week 24 – Dust masks 2 per person in family

Week 25 – 2 packages of moist sanitation towelettes

Week 26 – 1 bottle of rubbing alcohol or peroxide

Week 27 – Additional first aid supplies

Week 28 – Large package of plastic zip ties

Week 29 – 2 gallons of water

Week 30 – 1 plastic jar of peanut butter

Week 31 – Canned vegetables (4 cans)

Week 32 – More batteries for the flashlight and radio

Week 33 – Another flashlight (make sure to get a flashlight that takes the same size batteries as the one purchased during week 5)

Week 34 – Box of large plastic trash bags

Week 35 – Hard helmet (protective bump cap)

Week 36 – Rain Ponchos (1 for each person in the family)

Week 37 – 1 large plastic tarp

Week 38 – 1 pair of thermal socks for each person in the family

Week 39 – Protein Bars, Fruit Bars or Dry Cereal / Granola

Week 40 – 1 – 5 gallon bucket

Week 41 – 4 rolls of paper towels

Week 42 – 4 rolls of toilet paper

Week 43 – 2 bottles of Hand sanitizers

Week 44 – 1 package of bars of soap

Week 45 – 2 boxes of drier sheets

Week 46 – 1 large plastic tarp

Week 47 – Canned vegetables (4 cans)

Week 48 – 2 gallons of water

Week 49 – More batteries to match the size you need for radio and flashlights

Week 50 – Box of long burning candles

Week 51 – 2 boxes of fire starter blocks

Week 52 – Congratulations, purchase anything you would like to add to your disaster Preparedness kit.

Current Flood Information for Madison County, IN

9/9/2018 9:00 AM – Good morning Madison County. The White River in Anderson is at 12.85′ but the updated crest is now forecast to be tonight at 12:00 AM at 14.2′ which is down considerably from their first forecast. Today we should see light rain this morning expecting an additional .25″ which should not cause any additional flooding. Along White River, continue to be alert as flood waters rise today, but know that it should begin to recede overnight.

Big Duck Creek in Elwood is at 8.13′ which is categorized as minor flooding above 8.0′.

With clear skies, and temps in the 70’s-80’s all week, the ground should dry out before any more rain impacts central Indiana. We will be monitoring Hurricane Florence as it approaches the east coast and could possibly bring wet weather later in the week depending on its path.

9/8/2018 11:00 PM – The NWS has lowered the White River crest to 15.4′ scheduled to occur on 9/10/2018 at 12:00 AM (Monday morning). The river is forecast to remain at this level until 6:00 AM and then begin falling quickly. EMA will continue to monitor rivers and creeks throughout Madison County Sunday and Monday until the threat of flooding has decreased. Residents should continue to be alert and watch for changing conditions, especially in low land areas and areas prone to flooding. There will be no further posts tonight to this page, unless conditions change.

9/8/2018 8:30 PM – The NWS has lowered the anticipated crest of the White River in Anderson to 17.8′ on Monday morning at approximately 6:00 AM. At 17.8′, we still have moderate flooding along White River in low lying residential areas of Anderson and surrounding areas. Motorists are reminded to adhere to road closed signs. Schools should evaluate road closures and road conditions Monday morning for safe transportation of students.

Still looking at periods of heavy rain overnight between 1AM – 6AM with 1.75-2″ of additional rainfall expected.

Winds will be gusting 30-40MPH, along with saturated ground could uproot trees causing power outages. No outages reported in Madison County at this time. However, EMA has been out on 4 or 5 down trees during the past 36 hours, we anticipate further calls over night.

Minimal road closures at this time.
Madison County remains under a Flash Flood Watch until Sunday PM
White River is currently at 10.95′

9/8/2018 2:00 PM – 2000 sand bags have been handed out as of this afternoon. There are still approximately 1,500 bag available at the Highway garage. Highway personnel are on stand by to fill additional bags as the situation warrants.

Minimal road closures at this time.
Madison County remains under a Flash Flood Watch until Sunday PM
White River is currently at 9.9′ and rising crest expected Monday 6:00 AM 18.8 – 19.3′

9/8/2018 12:00 PM – Madison County has received between 2″-3.6″ in the past 24 hours. The heaviest band of rain bringing another 2″ is anticipated overnight and into tomorrow morning. In total, we are anticipating 5″ of rain for the weekend.

Yesterday 9/7/2018, Employees from the Madison County Highway Department filled 3,200 sand bags, which are available to citizens of Madison County for pickup 24 hours a day at the Madison County Highway Garage located on W 8th Street in Anderson. If you are getting concerned about rising water near your home or property, now is the time to take actions to safeguard against flooding. The White River in Anderson is expected to crest at 19.3′ Sunday night into Monday morning. At 19.3′ this is considered major flooding. (This crest is a forecast and is subject to change as rainfall continues.)

At 17.5′ – 18′ along the White River, we will start seeing road closures and flooding of residential areas that are prone to rising water during flooding events. If you reside in flood prone areas, Be Alert and Be Prepared to evacuate or take precautions. This rain event has the potential to be a very dangerous situation in flood prone areas.

9/7/2018 4:00 PM – This post will be updated throughout the weekend with accurate information related to the Flood fight in Madison County. Please consider this page as accurate information and official from the Madison County EMA.

9/7/2018 2:00 PM – Sand Bags are available at the Madison County Highway Department (outside the gate) located on W 8th Street Road in Anderson.

Madison County Highway workers fill sand bags to prepare for flooding.

Here is a link to instructions on proper sandbagging.

Residents should sign up for emergency alerts and text messages available FREE from EMA by texting the word MadisonCoEMA to 888777. Only emergency weather related information is sent via our texting service. (Standard text messaging rates may apply)

9/7/2018 1:30 PM – Current forecast for Madison County is to receive between 4-5″ of rainfall. This could change, stay alert.

Sandbags are available for Madison County residents

In advance of heavy rainfall and possible flooding this weekend throughout all of Madison County and central Indiana, the Madison County Highway Department has begun filling sand bags for local residents. Sand bags will be available starting at 2:00PM and can be picked up at the Madison County Highway Department located on W 8th Street at Dale Jones Road. Sandbags are for residents of Madison County.

The NWS is forecasting 4″-6″ with some isolated areas receiving more rainfall amounts. The ground is currently saturated, holding ponds, and creeks are full. As a result, any additional rainfall will lead to low land flooding first, followed by larger creeks and rivers flooding. We expect to have road closures in the common areas where flooding occurs.

As a reminder to all residents, Turn Around Don’t Drown. As little as 6″ of moving water can sweep away an automobile risking the lives of everyone on board as well as the lives of emergency first responders. All motorists should heed Road Closed signs and when driving at night, you extra caution as high water may be difficult to spot.

Potential Weekend Flooding

The attached graphic from the Storms Prediction Center shows the magnitude of potential rain across central Indiana this weekend. Forecast models are showing a total of 5 – 7” over central Indiana in the next three days. With the ground becoming saturated, this amount of rainfall will cause some flooding. Residents in low areas and areas prone to flooding should take action now to prepare.