The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Editorials

April 29, 2013

Editorial: Comforting to have county EMA

The rains that overloaded rivers, streams and low-lying lands bring a flood of issues. More mosquitoes are expected this year as eggs hatch in water-soaked areas. The Department of Natural Resources warned fishing fanatics to be aware of rushing water in streams and rivers. And Vincennes city officials warned residents to stop trampling grassy areas as they stood on park lawns to watch rising waters flow by.

Hundreds of homes and businesses were damaged — more than 200 in Tipton.

Around the state, swamped Hoosiers found they may not have had the proper flood insurance — now is the time to double-check your policy — or that a municipality’s drainage system is in need of repair or that they should have a plan in place if they need to evacuate their homes.

One element that’s always among the last on flood victims’ checklist is to contact their local emergency management agency or the Indiana Department of Homeland Security to report damage. That can be done online through www.in.gov/idhs. The agency uses the information to determine if federal assistance can be pursued.

In Madison County, Elwood was hit hardest by the spring floods when 4 to 6 inches pounded the northwestern community in less than 36 hours on April 18 and 19. Officials waded door-to-door to check on residents. Callaway Park and a senior center were deluged.

Besides neighbors and local first responders — a sincere thanks goes to each and every one — the biggest assistance comes through the Madison County Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency. The county EMA, which has a Facebook page that offers timely tips and updates, is tasked with doing assessments of the damage. The agency deserves admiration and respect for being able to coordinate responses to disasters.

This time around, spots along Big Duck Creek flooded quicker than in recent memory, so fast that EMA spokesman Todd Harmeson acknowledged there was little time for residents to prepare against the waters. One business owner went back to watch footage from his security camera and saw floodwaters appear in less than an hour. About 75 homes and businesses were damaged in Elwood.

Yet it’s reassuring to know that neighbors, in the form of the local Emergency Management Agency volunteers, responded quickly to the flooding in Elwood and are willing to tackle other disasters — natural or man-made — that will come along.

In summary

When disasters — man-made or natural — occur, it’s reassuring to have a county emergency management agency.

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