Accidental “Missile Alert” Message issued in Hawaii – What if it were real?

On Saturday 1/13/2018, officials in Hawaii accidentally issued an Emergency Alert System message stating “Ballistic Missile Threat Inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill”.   After the message went out, government officials retracted their message by sending out social media alerts and other messages stating it was an accident.  But, what if this were not an accident and some other country launched an attack on the United States of America?   Are you prepared?

On July 20, 1979 Executive Order 12148 was issued which created the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  Up until this time, Civil Defense was the government agency charged with nuclear war preparedness and education.  Remember these signs which were posted around towns and cities across the nation.  These signs identified locations identified by Civil Defense as locations, which would protect citizens from nuclear radiation.   During this period they also used Bert the tortoise to help educate citizens to always locate shelter in the event of an air attack with nuclear weapons.   Well, jumping ahead to 2018, should we start training and preparing for nuclear attack again?   Many experts believe we should start preparing for the threat of a nuclear attack again.

Here is a link to the Ready.gov which is a great resource for the public to prepare for nuclear attack.  Just like with any disaster, each home, business and school needs to have a disaster preparedness kit.  The kit needs to include all of your preparedness items like food, water, medication, flash light, radio, batteries, first aid kit, etc.  (Watch for a more inclusive list coming soon online).  We typically tell citizens to plan for 72 hours but during a threatened nuclear attack, Ready.gov advocates a 2 week preparedness kit.

After a nuclear attack, there are three key points that need to be remembered to help protect you and your family.

  • Distance – the more distance between you and the fallout particles, the better. An underground area such as a home or office building basement offers more protection than the first floor of a building.
  • Shielding – the heavier and denser the materials – thick walls, concrete, bricks, books and earth – between you and the fallout particles, the better.
  • Time – fallout radiation loses its intensity fairly rapidly. In time, you will be able to leave the fallout shelter. Radioactive fallout poses the greatest threat to people during the first two weeks, by which time it has declined to about 1 percent of its initial radiation level.

We are not trying to alarm the community, but we thought yesterdays false alarm was a good time to remind our followers about nuclear preparedness and some simple steps which can be taken in advance to help prepare.  Remember nuclear emergency could occur as a result of a traffic accident (private carriers transport radiological materials on our roads daily), terrorist attack by an individual or group as well as an act of war from another country.

Winter Weather Situational Update 1/12 Storm

1-12-2018 9:30 PM

Madison County Highway department continues to have their plows on the road into the night applying abrasives and plowing.  The wind tonight is causing drifting on rural east west roads.   If you need to be out on roadways tonight, use primary roads such as State Highways or heavily travelled roads.

 

1-12-2018 4:30 PM

Snow continues to fall in Madison County with light accumulation on roads and highways.  The combination of ice earlier this morning compounded with snow this afternoon is making roads very slick and hazardous for motorists making the commute home.   Madison County Highway crews and INDOT crews have worked all day plowing and putting down abrasives.  Temperatures will continue to fall over night with windchill temperatures -5 to -2 below.  We are watching another storm system making its way toward Indiana for this coming Monday and Tuesday.

Residents should consider taking measures to keep pipes from freezing tonight in their homes.  We recommend leaving cabinet doors open (be alert for children and pets), and leaving a trickle of water running over night.  We do NOT recommend using alternative sources of heat.  Too many house fires are ignited because of alternative heat sources being used to close to flammable materials.  Space heaters should always be kept at a minimum of 3′ away from everything.

Over the weekend, continue to check our Closing and Delays page.

1-12-2018 8:00 AM

Madison County officials have raised our travel status to ADVISORY due to the ice covered roads and deteriorating road conditions.  Freezing rain continues to fall in Madison County adding to the ice build up on vehicles, roads, side walks and drive ways.   We remind citizens to walk with caution, icy conditions create slip and fall conditions for all ages.

Highway crews are out in full force (local and state) applying abrasives on roadways to help combat the icy conditions.   Road temperatures have dropped below freezing now, which means road surfaces will freeze.   Ice should change over to snow throughout the day and they are still forecasting 2-4″.

All public schools in Madison County closed today.  Continue to watch closings and delays page for after school activities today and Saturday.

Currently it is 27*F.  With increased winds throughout the day and falling temperatures, the windchill will dip to -2 overnight.  Extreme cold mixed with icy road conditions makes travel dangerous.  What if you had an accident or slid of the road on a rural patch of road and no one came along to help for several hours?  Would you be prepared prepared for negative temperatures to survive?

 

1-11-2018 10:45 PM

Temperatures have begun to fall across western Indiana as the front pushes thru.  Temperatures have fallen 20 degrees in less than hour near Crawfordsville.   As the front pushes thru we will see similar temperature drops causing a flash freeze type situation.  Due to the rain and wet conditions combined with the flash freeze will make roads extremely slick across the county.  Due to the rain, roads have not been pre-treated as our highway crews would normally due.  Motorists on Friday morning should plan for extra time during the AM commute.  Also be sure to check out the school closings and delays page for area schools.  School Closing.  Later in the day on Friday the freezing rain will change over to snow with expected accumulation of 2-3″.    EMA will be monitoring the changing weather conditions throughout the night posting updates as necessary.

See everyone on Friday morning!  PIO – Checked out for a couple of hours :-]

 

1-11-2018 5:45 PM Update

We will post updates to the public here for our winter weather storm which should make its way into Madison County on Friday morning beginning as freezing rain and changing over to snow by mid afternoon Friday.  We expect freezing rain Friday and accumulating snow of 2-4″ by Friday afternoon into the night.   Continue to watch our website and social media for updates as the weather approaches.

INDOT announces they will have 1,092 plows out state wide for this winter weather event.  Madison County Highway will have their fleet of 25 trucks covering 900 square miles.  This storm will be particularly difficult to pre-treat due to the rain we are receiving in advance of the storm which will wash away the chemicals.  Motorists should expect icy roads for their commute on Friday morning and snow covered roads for their commute home Friday night.  Plan in advance to have extra time to make your commute.  If you can, we would recommend staying home and allowing road crews to work and treat road surfaces.  Madison County officials will be assessing road conditions throughout the storm to determine any necessary travel advisories.

Popular Weather Related Links and Phone Numbers – DO NOT DIAL 911 FOR WEATHER AND ROAD CONDITIONS

Travel Advisory Map

INDOT Road Conditions phone line: 1-800-261-ROAD (7623)

INDOT Traffic Conditions

National Weather Service Indianapolis

 

Winter Weather Situational Update1/7

1-9-2018 12:00 Travel Status Returned to Normal

Madison County officials have lowered the travel status back to NORMAL for rural, unincorporated parts of Madison County.

 

1-7-2018 9:20 PM Travel Advisory Issued

Madison County officials have raised the travel status to ADVISORY for rural unincorporated parts of Madison County.  Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, and individuals should use caution or avoid those areas. Freezing rain continues to fall across all of Madison County and emergency personnel are reporting all road surfaces are ice covered, slick and hazardous.  Motorists should allow extra time for their commute to work on Monday morning and limit travel if possible.

Follow us on our website for updates at www.madisoncoema.org or on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Also you can find up to the minute school closings and delays on our EMA website as well.

 

1-7-2018 8:40 PM FST Call

FST units requested to close State Road 28 between 500W and 600W for an accident with utility lines down.  Roadway extremely slick, advise all incoming units to proceed with caution road is ice covered.

Will you know when disaster strikes?

Did you know, the Madison County Emergency Management & Department of Homeland Security Office provides FREE alert texts, and email to our subscribers?   When emergency or disaster situations are imminent, EMA will alert you via your cellular phone or email if you sign up to receive these notifications.   Nixle is a FREE text and email alert system, which is managed by EMA and is used to communicate with our followers about emergencies or disaster situations.   EMA pushes out weather alerts 24 hours a day for life threatening weather events. For non-emergency or non-life threatening situations, these alerts are pushed out during daytime or early evening hours.  Each user can setup their own preferences on how you want to receive alerts during specific times of the day or for specific agencies only.  For example, you can receive Nixle Alerts from any government agency that subscribes to the system in your specific zip code (or a zip code of family living in another geographical area) or you can select specific agencies only.  We used the Nixle system in 2017 to alert citizens in central Madison County to seek shelter immediately when a tornado was confirmed by trained weather spotters, during the dangerously cold temperatures to inform the public about warming stations around the county and in April to order an evacuation in parts of Alexandria after the fiery crash that struck the natural gas pipeline.  These are just a few of the highlighted alerts we sent out to the public in 2017 in addition to the National Weather Service alerts which are sent regularly during severe weather.

In addition to the Nixle Alert system, we also encourage every home, business, school, and other public facilities to have an All Hazard Alert radio capable of receiving warnings from the National Weather Service.  These all hazard radios are vital to the safety of our community when weather threatens our lives (especially in the middle of the night).  An All Hazard Alert Radio is a great gift for Valentines, birthday, Christmas or just because you want to give a gift that keeps on giving.  All Hazard Alert radios can be purchased for a nominal cost at most all big box retailers across the country.  Walmart, K-mart, Target, CVS, Walgreens, are some local examples plus Amazon, e-Bay, and many other online businesses.  There are countless examples of All Hazard Radios saving peoples lives when severe weather is about to strike.

After the tornado, flood or blizzard it may be to late to save someones life by installing the alert radio, today is the day to prepare and setup your cell phone alerts, email alerts and an all hazard alert radio at home.  For more information about our FREE alert system, or to sign up for customized alerts, go to https://www.madisoncoema.org/alerts/    You can also sign up simply by texting the word MADISONCOEMA to 888777 on your cellular device.   

All text alerts and email to cellular devices are subject to data costs based on your specific plan and contract with your cellular provider.  EMA does not charge for this service.

Do you know your Madison Co EMA?

Did you know, the Madison Co Emergency Management & Department of Homeland Security Agency is one of the largest county government agencies in Madison County.  Madison Co EMA is comprised of over 100 volunteers.  Our volunteers are assigned to one or more divisions such as:  Warning, Communication (RACES), Field Support, Public Information and Outreach, EOC, Unmanned Aerial System, Damage Assessment, Hazardous Material and Cadet.

Our volunteers dedicate their time to specialize in skills which are most valuable to our agency during times of emergency or disaster.  The training our members receive nearly every month, prepares them to respond to natural, technological and man-made disasters.  Many of our volunteers attend 40-50 hours of training each year to strengthen and/or maintain their specialized skills.  Our volunteers range from retirees, to high school students, factory workers, administrators, managers, and executives in business.  It takes all skills, ages and personalities to make a volunteer agency successful.  EMA is available to respond when called upon 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.  Our volunteers combined, give nearly 10,000 hours of free labor in Madison County.  These 10,000 hours of volunteer labor translates to nearly $500,000 in salary and benefits if our volunteers were paid for their time.   The Field Support Division is the most active, with 25 volunteers responding with Police, Fire, EMA, and Hospital agencies when called upon.

 

The Madison County Emergency Management and Department of Homeland Security Agency is lead by Tom Ecker, Executive Director, Todd Harmeson, Deputy Director, Jocelyn Overby, Administrative Assistant and several Division Directors.  On a daily basis, EMA reports to the Madison County Commissioners for direction and we receive our funding from the Madison County Council as well as grants from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  EMA is located in the Madison County Emergency Operations Center which also houses the Madison County 911 Central Communications Center in Anderson, IN.

We encourage each citizen to spend some time surfing thru our website to learn more about our agency.

Space Heater Dangers

Electric space heaters

Radiant space heaters warm whatever is directly in front of them, while convection heaters can help make an entire room feel more comfortable. To use them safely, consider the following tips:

  • Purchase units with an Underwriters Laboratories (UL) label.
  • Keep heaters at least three feet from anything that can burn, such as upholstery, curtains, pets or people. Approximately half of fires in residential buildings involving a portable heater occur because the unit is too close to a combustible material.
  • Keep the unit on a level surface and plug it directly into a wall outlet.
  • Never use a space heater to dry clothing.
  • Select a unit that automatically switches off if the unit tips over.
  • Do not leave a space heater unattended, especially when children or pets are in the room. Do not leave an electric heater on overnight or when you’re sleeping.

Woodstoves

Woodstoves are a more efficient heat source than traditional fireplaces, and many units can keep more than one room warm. However, more than 4,000 residential fires each year are attributed to woodstoves. To keep woodstoves operating safely, consider the following tips:

  • Before buying a stove, check with your local fire department to get local ordinances on solid fuel burning appliances.
  • Be sure the unit has been tested and is listed with a nationally recognized testing laboratory.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions and pay close attention to clearance requirements. If there are no manufacturer’s instructions or a label on the unit, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests clearances should be 36″ or 1 meter away from any combustible item, such as curtains or flooring.
  • Install a floor protector that meets the heating appliance manufacturer’s requirements, and extends at least 18 inches on all sides of the heater, unless the manufacturer states otherwise.
  • Have the chimney and stovepipe cleaned and inspected annually.
  • Burn only seasoned hardwood or wood pellets in the stove, according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Wait until ashes have cooled before removing them. Transfer ashes in a covered metal container to an outside location 10 feet or more away from the home, and douse them with water.

Kerosene space heaters

These units are relatively inexpensive to operate and can warm a large area within your home. Some communities restrict the use of kerosene heaters, so always check with the local authorities about potential restrictions before purchasing or operating a unit. To operate safely, consider the following tips:

  • Purchase units that have been tested and approved for use by a laboratory such as UL.
  • Keep children and pets away from the heater to avoid contact burns.
  • Use only the approved fuel—clear 1-K grade kerosene, never gasoline.
  • Kerosene heaters should only be used in a well-ventilated area away from flames or other heat sources.
  • Do not refill a heater until the unit is cool. Refill units outdoors.

Learn more about portable space heaters and wood and pellet stoves from Energy.gov.

EMA Website Upgrade

The Madison County Emergency Management and Department of Homeland Security Agency website is being upgraded on the servers to make our site secure and protected.  By updating the server, which hosts our website, we are protecting the agency, our website and you, our followers.  Over night tonight, our website may experience brief outages during the migration to the new secure server.  As a point of reference for our followers, when you are surfing the internet and you see an https:// website, you know this site is secure and protected.  This migration is just another step toward improving our outreach campaign better serve our followers.

 

Dangerously Cold Windchills Overnight

Tonight as the temperature begins to fall, wind chills will reach the -15 to -30*F overnight and into Tuesday.  These temperatures are dangerous to be out in.  Exposed skin can become frost bit in just 10-15 minutes.  Here are some helpful safety tips to follow:

  1. Be sure to bring your pets indoors so they are sheltered from these dangerous wind chill temperatures.
  2. Check on your neighbors and loved one to ensure they have heat and are okay in their homes.
  3. If you are using a space heater to supplement heat in your home, be sure to give it 3′ in all directions from flammable materials.
  4. Do not use an oven or stove top for supplemental heat, nor use outdoor items such as a grill for heat.
  5. Leave a trickle of water running in your sink to prevent freezing pipes.
  6. Limit out door activites to just a couple of minutes and be sure to cover all skin.
  7. When traveling, be sure to have a fully charged cellular phone and let family / friends know your route of travel and expected ETA.