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Prepare your children with a ‘shelter in place’ program

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 60 percent of Americans have not practiced what to do in a weather-related disaster. Our recent Facebook poll shows 59 percent of people polled have yet to prepare a severe weather safety plan. 

The Indianapolis Fire Department’s Fire and Life Safety Division has tips on what you should do before severe weather strikes. They also show us an interactive program that’s taught over 160,000 kids what to do and how to prepare for severe weather. 

Every year Hoosiers fall victim to the damaging impacts of severe storms. The mission of the Indianapolis Fire Department is to “Protect lives, property and the environment while serving our community with courage, commitment and compassion” 

We sat down with Division Chief Courtney Gordon to talk about what you can do to protect your property before severe weather strikes.

Chief Gordon says before severe weather arrives some of the things you can do include cutting down old trees and anchoring or securing items that could move around. You should also take some of the time to clear the brush trim trees, anchor your patio furniture things you might have outside. 

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And if you haven’t made a severe weather safety plan with your family, IFD has a program to help you and your family start the conversation. The program is called “shelter in place.”

Shelter in place is an interactive program that simulates emergency situations including but not limited to severe weather.  

Captain Aleatha Henderson is the director of public education for the Indianapolis Fire Department. She tells us that it’s a unique program where children can learn about fire safety and life safety but we’re also able to use our shelter in place village to teach them about environmental emergencies such as tornadoes. 

Here’s how shelter in place works.

Kids are brought into the makeshift house to enjoy their favorite cartoons. The program is interrupted by a meteorologist with a severe weather alert. The alert on the weather radio sounds, the lights flicker and speakers hidden behind a cabinet allow for vibrations mimicking what an actual tornado sounds like.

Captain Henderson says kids take what they see and hear in this room seriously. After the simulation occurs, a weather safety plan is discussed and practiced. The participants leave the program with a memorable experience and a severe weather safety plan. 

The shelter in place program is available for all ages.

To learn more about the program, click herecall George Callahan at 317-327-7991 or via email George.Callahan@indy.gov

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