Howard County forms new group to prepare for natural disasters

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — A natural disaster can strike at any moment, and Howard County wants to be better prepared.

"We’re kind of unique in that fact we’ve had some pretty major disasters in the last six, seven years. When you look at the situation we had with the snow storm and the cold, the flooding and two tornadoes, we have a lot of experience to draw upon," Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman said.

Howard County has formed a new group called the Community Organization Active in Disaster Group.

"Under our plan, the committee that’s working on that will already have buildings identified and be ready to receive those goods right away. As oppose to if the disaster happened, we would have to go out and find space," Wyman said.

The United Way has been the point agency during past disasters, according Wyman.

"I think we would all agree with The United Way. Their disaster business isn’t their primary function, but they have been excellent at being willing to serve in that role," Wyman said.

The county isn’t going to rely on just one organization anymore.

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Howard County Emergency Management will be one part of the COAD group. It’s going to take several organizations and nonprofits working together to be prepared in case a disaster strikes.

"Having all the key players in place prior to a disaster to ensure all the resources are utilized properly and all human needs are met during a disaster is the only way to go," Howard County EMA Director Janice Hart said.

Hart knows planning eases the stress load during a disaster because everyone will know what role they play in keeping folks safe.

“The minute a disaster happens and we activate the COAD, that key leadership team comes together. They go right to the committee members, and boom, we’re in an entire room together immediately, and then the plan is being rolled out," Wyman said.

The COAD group has already been formed, and people are being placed in specific roles.

They plan to have a mock disaster drill in the coming months.

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