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Purdue Extension helps prepare rural counties for natural disasters

A farm suffers storm damage. (WLFI Photo, File)

WEST LAFAYETTE Ind. (WLFI) — Living in rural Indiana is peaceful, but sometimes harsh elements can be hard for smaller rural counties to respond to.

“What it does it bring in resources from state and federal entities to be able to really help people in rural communities prepare for and respond to different types of emergencies and disasters,” said Shawn Ehlers Program Leader, Indiana PREpared.

The Purdue Rural Emergency Preparedness program aims to help guide not only rural communities toward resources they need to respond properly, but they also hope to provide training to first responders who might not be familiar with rural emergencies like grain entrapment.

“Reacting to some rural emergencies on farms and different Ag facilities are different then what they might see in an urban setting,” added Ehlers. “We are trying to prepare them so they can react safely for them and the person they are reacting to.”

Along with training urban first responders, the program will also provide more training opportunities to rural first responders who oftentimes are volunteers.

“A lot of things we’ve seen is that in many places a lot of rural communities their responses are managed by volunteers,” said Jason Henderson Director of Purdue Extension. “In urban communities, there are full-time people that work on things like. “Many times our rural communities just need a little extra assistance in how to tap certain resources in various different places.

“The program is in its beginning stages, but they are already planning to expand the training they provide in the near future.

“We are going to add things such as animal diseases disposal and also disaster clean up,” added Ehlers.

For more information about the program click here.