Severe Weather Preparednessby Amy Wenger on May 25, 2014
With the unbearably cold, snowy spectre of winter not far enough removed from our memory, it hardly seems possible that the time of year is now upon us when the threat of severe weather often looms.
But that season is officially here, and although Bremen has, thus far, been spared the brunt of volatile storm outbreaks, it is always wise to become reacquainted with safety procedures that should be followed when ominous skies prevail.
Bremen Police Chief Matt Hassel and Fire Chief Matt Neher have provided some guidelines to remember, particularly noteworthy in times when dangerous conditions are imminent. It's imperative to know that the town of Bremen does not have any public tornado shelters, so it might be wise to consider signing up for Nixle alerts from the Bremen Police Department.
"This will allow you to receive text messages and e-mail notifications when there are weather watches and warnings in our area," Hassel said. "Simply go to Nixle.com, create an account, and select the type of alerts you would like to receive from the police department."
There is a distinctive difference between watches and warnings. When the National Weather Service issues a watch for a particular region, it means that the atmospheric conditions are favorable for storms to form. A warning means that the criteria has been met for severe weather, whether it is a thunderstorm, tornado, flash flood, or other similar event. Warnings can also be declared in instances where something has been verifiably indicated through weather spotting, or by radar imagery.
During the spring and summer months, tornadic activity and severe thunderstorms are the primary concerns, as fluctuating humidity levels can trigger rapid changes in the environment. If dangerous weather appears likely, it's imperative to have a plan of action in place, said Hassel. "An example would be if you are driving down the road and are confronted by a tornado - stop your vehicle, exit it, and lay down in a ditch or the lowest ground level."
Being aware in advance of storms is also helpful, so it is recommended that people stock up on emergency supplies such as bottled water, flashlights, batteries, and portable radios. Hassel also advises residents to be mindful of the fact that while tornado sirens are audible for most of the Bremen community, those who live at Lake of the Woods and other rural areas cannot hear sirens, so weather detection equipment and services are a must. Everyone should also note that the town does not sound an "all clear" signal when the storms pass, so NOAA weather radios and other similar items are recommended to ensure that the knowledge they receive is current and accurate.
The town of Bremen administers testing of the sirens on the first Monday of every month at 10 a.m., unless it is a government holiday or if the weather forecast calls for inclement weather. If citizens ever experience a problem with the siren activation in their neighborhood, they should call the Bremen Police Department at 546-3456.
Hassel also explains, "The town of Bremen follows the National Incident Management System (NIMS) for our disaster plan. All emergency service employees are trained in this system, along with several members of local businesses. Anyone can go through this training, which is mostly offered online from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). We do maintain a disaster resource list of shelters, supplies, equipment, and personnel that we can call on if needed. The list is continually updated."
Here are some Internet links that can direct you to forecast information and other valuable alerts:
- http://www.crh.noaa.gov/iwx - National Weather Service of Northern Indiana
- www.weather.com - The Weather Channel