Amateur Radio and Severe Weather Spotting

On Tuesday night, the National Weather Service – Indianapolis, IN conducted severe weather spotter training at Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, IN.   Over 105 people attended this training to learn how to spot severe weather and learn the different between Watches and Warnings.   Our severe weather storm spotter network is made up of amateur radio operators who are volunteer members of Madison County Emergency Management & Department of Homeland Security.   On Tuesday March 13, 2018 at 7:00 PM, Amateur Radio operators will host an open house at the Emergency Operations Center (200 N Delaware Street, Anderson, IN 46016).   The open house is intended to raise the awareness of the community about amateur radio and introduce citizens to the hobby.   We hope to pack the house with people interested to learn more about becoming a “Ham Radio Operator”.  

At our severe weather training on Tuesday, here is a break down of the attendees:

Madison County EMA and County Amateur Radio Club members

City of Anderson

City of Alexandria  (Mayor!)

Madison County Sheriff Dept.

Green Township Trustee

Madison County Central Communications Center

Indiana Department of Homeland Security

Indiana Department of Corrections

Adams Twp Fire Dept.

Edgewood Fire Dept.

Richland Twp Fire Dept.

Chesterfield Fire Dept.

Anderson Herald Bulletin

WoofBoom Radio

Hoosier Park Fire & Bldg Safety

American Red Cross

Civilian Crisis Response Team

EMAS Ambulance Service

BI Inc

Borg Warner

When all else fails, there is Amateur Radio

Ham Radio in Emergency Operation


Many people grew up hearing about disasters in far-off lands and how amateur (ham) radio operators were initially the only means of contact with the outside world. Disasters, both near and far, still occur today, and ham radio operators continue to volunteer their skills and personal radio equipment to serve the public. From a planning and operations perspective, emergency management professionals must effectively include these volunteer resources into comprehensive emergency management plans (CEMPs).

Ham radio was the original electronic “social media” with initial contacts between radio stations taking place in the 1890s. Federal licensing of ham radio stations began after The Radio Act of 1912 was passed, and today all ham radio stations are strictly regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under US 47 CFR §97.

The American Radio Relay League (ARRL), a ham radio member-society founded in 1914, established the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) in 1935. This standby radio service consists of “licensed amateur radio operators who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment with their local ARES leadership for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.”

In 1952, the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) was developed as a standby Civil Defense radio service governed by the FCC under US 47 CFR §97.407. RACES is activated by emergency managers in local, county, tribal, and state jurisdictions, uses Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) protocols, and are the only ham radio operators authorized to transmit during declared emergencies when the president of the United States specifically invokes powers granted under 47 U.S.C. §606.

 Understanding This Communications Resource

Ham radio operators come in all ages and from all lifestyles, and are essentially neighbors in the community. Each licensee has passed one or more extensive knowledge tests covering a multitude of topics, including FCC rules, operator and station license responsibilities, operating procedures and practices, radio propagation, electrical principles and electronic circuits, common transmitter and receiver problems, antenna measurements and troubleshooting, basic repair and testing, non-voice communications, antennas and feed lines, AC power circuits, and safety.

Since ham radio is their hobby, many hams have decades of radio communications experience. Some may have professional broadcasting experience, and others may be current/former first responders. In standards that have arisen with the introduction of the National Incident Management System, ARES and RACES members may also:

  • Be registered emergency/disaster workers under state law;
  • Possess certificates for (sometimes many) FEMA training classes;
  • Have passed law enforcement background checks; and
  • May be engaged in other volunteer activities such as Search and Rescue (SAR) or Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).
If you are interested to learn more about Amateur Radio, come to our open house OR submit your information and we will follow up with you soon.

What if you had to evacuate immediately, ARE YOU PREPARED?


Have you ever given it any thought, what if we had to evacuate our house immediately?   With all of the hazardous chemicals transported daily, the risk of an evacuation being ordered due to a chemical incident is not unreal.  In addition to chemicals, evacuations may be ordered due to fires, severe weather or acts of terrorism.  Here are some recent headlines from across the country where evacuations were ordered.

February 12, 2018 Diamond Bar, California – Evacuation order lifted after explosion on semi-truck carrying hydrogen tanks in Diamond Bar

February 12, 2018 Nevada, IA – Nevada high, middle schools evacuated after emailed threat

February 7, 2018 Norton, Massachusetts – Chemicals force the evacuation of homes near an industrial facility

January 14, 2018 Midland, Texas – Chemical Fire Forces Evacuation in Midland

January 10, 2018 Jackson County, IN – All lanes on I65 closed and evacuation ordered after chemical fire erupts in a semi trailer

One thing these evacuations all had in common, they were fast acting evacuations.   What we mean by that, you have just minutes to prepare and get out of your home or business when this type of evacuation is ordered.   Now is the time to prepare for an evacuation, before the order is given.  Here are some useful tips to follow before, during and after an evacuation.

Before an Evacuation

  • Learn the types of disasters that are likely in your community and the local emergency, evacuation, and shelter plans for each specific disaster.
  • Plan how you will leave and where you will go if you are advised to evacuate.
    • Identify several places you could go in an emergency such as a friend’s home in another town or a motel. Choose destinations in different directions so that you have options during an emergency.
    • If needed, identify a place to stay that will accept pets. Most public shelters allow only service animals.
    • Be familiar with alternate routes and other means of transportation out of your area.
    • Always follow the instructions of local officials and remember that your evacuation route may be on foot depending on the type of disaster.
  • Develop a family/household communication and re-unification plan so that you can maintain contact and take the best actions for each of you and re-unite if you are separated.
  • Assemble supplies that are ready for evacuation, both a “go-bag” you can carry when you evacuate on foot or public transportation and supplies for traveling by longer distances if you have a personal vehicle.
  • If you have a car:
    • Keep a full tank of gas in it if an evacuation seems likely. Keep a half tank of gas in it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay.
    • Make sure you have a portable emergency kit in the car.
  • If you do not have a car, plan how you will leave if needed. Make arrangements with family, friends or your local government.

During an Evacuation

  • A list of open shelters can be found on
  • Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.
  • Take your emergency supply kit.
  • Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.
  • Take your pets with you, but understand that only service animals may be permitted in public shelters. Plan how you will care for your pets in an emergency now.
  • If time allows:
    • Call or email the out-of-state contact in your family communications plan. Tell them where you are going.
    • Secure your home by closing and locking doors and windows.
    • Unplug electrical equipment such as radios, televisions and small appliances. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding. If there is damage to your home and you are instructed to do so, shut off water, gas and electricity before leaving.
    • Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going.
    • Wear sturdy shoes and clothing that provides some protection such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts and a hat.
    • Check with neighbors who may need a ride.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
  • Be alert for road hazards such as washed-out roads or bridges and downed power lines. Do not drive into flooded areas.

After an Evacuation

If you evacuated for the storm, check with local officials both where you’re staying and back home before you travel.

  • Residents returning to disaster-affected areas after significant events should expect and prepare for disruptions to daily activities, and remember that returning home before storm debris is cleared is dangerous.
  • Let friends and family know before you leave and when you arrive.
  • Charge devices and consider getting back-up batteries in case power-outages continue.
  • Fill up your gas tank and consider downloading a fuel app to check for outages along your route.
  • Bring supplies such as water and non-perishable food for the car ride.
  • Avoid downed power or utility lines; they may be live with deadly voltage.
  • Stay away and report them immediately to your power or utility company.
  • Only use generators away from your home and NEVER run a generator inside a home or garage, or connect it to your home’s electrical system.

How can you follow MCEMA?

Madison County Emergency Management & Department of Homeland Security publishes information by use of several different tools to reach our followers.  One of the key missions of our agency is to educate the public on disaster and emergency preparedness.  Over the years, public information for EMA has transitioned from word of mouth, to our website, to social media, and now to our podcasts we do each week.  Thirty years ago, EMA had to rely on FM/AM radio stations, local news papers and maybe the occasional television news station but today, we have our agency website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, Nixle, Next Door and our agency website.

  • Facebook (MadisonCountyEMA) we post up coming events, as well as weather alerts (Warnings and Watches) and we typically provide updates throughout events which are on-going in Madison County.  Because of the way Facebook posts to your feed, you cannot rely on this mode for emergency alert information.
  • Twitter (MadisonCoEMA) we post alerts of EMA calls, weather alerts (watches and warning) and we provide links to updates on FB.  Twitter is a good source of information for real time alerts.
  • Instagram (MadisonCoEMA) we post pictures of our EMA volunteers, equipment and other related information.  Typically during a response, we will provide a picture to our viewers so you can see what emergency response personnel are dealing with.  Instagram is not a source for emergency information.
  • Flickr (Mcema) is where we post agency pictures for our viewers to see albums.    Many times our pictures will help show the magnitude of the emergency or the disaster.   We also like to share pictures of our volunteers training and working in their division which they represent for the agency.
  • Nixle is our alert and notification system we use to send emergency alerts to our subscribers via text, email, and phone calls.   Residents can sign up to receive FREE emergency alerts by texting the word MADISONCOEMA to 888777.  Weather Warnings are disseminated along with life threatening emergency information when necessary to protect lives and property.
  • Next Door is our newest social media tool that we have started using for community outreach.   We use Next Door to connect with sections of Madison County which will be impacted by our information.  For example, we may only post weather bulletins in the north if the storm is expected to pass in the northern half of the county.  Next Door is a great tool to reach neighbors throughout all of Madison County.
  • Website ( is your one stop to follow EMA on our social media accounts (Facebook and Twitter), review our Flickr pictures, read previous Nixle alerts, listen to our podcasts ( and to read our outreach articles to publish as a part of our educational series.

Madison County EMA is on the forefront of technology to help spread the preparedness message to our followers and subscribers in Madison County, Indiana, the United States of America and around the world.   Do you follow us?

Building your Disaster Preparedness Kit One Item per Week


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 roles of paper towels

Week 42 – 4 roles 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.

What if your car was submerged under water, would you know how to escape?

Yesterday emergency crews from Richland Township Fire Department, Chesterfield Union Township Fire Department (Dive Team) and officers from the Indiana DNR Conservation Division divers responded to an accident where the vehicle landed into a body of water and was submerged under the ice.  Fortunately the driver was able to escape the vehicle, but if this happened to you, would you know how to escape?

Remember these simple rules if you need to escape a vehicle under water:

  1. Remove your seatbelt
  2. Put down your windows (if electric and they will not go down, immediately use something to break your windows)
  3. Evacuate children and young passengers first.
  4. Pull yourself out the driver side window
  5. Push yourself away from the vehicle
  6. Swim toward a shore line.

Here is a short video produced by The Weather Channel demonstrating the proper steps to escape a submerged vehicle.


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 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, 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 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.