Local agencies begin sending emergency crews to East Coast

Indianapolis

Local agencies are sending emergency crews to states on the East Coast in order to help as Hurricane Sandy makes landfall.

Monday morning, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security announced 107 people were going to the East Coast along with 44 vehicles. 

Joe Wainscott, Executive Director of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, said they were contacted for help.  He said some people will go to Maryland to help, while another group will go to New York. Even though crews are leaving Indiana temporarily, it will not leave Hoosiers without help.

In Indiana, it is expected to get windy.  Wainscott said people should get ready before we get heavier winds in our state. 

"The best time to prepare is when the sun is shinning. We encourage people everyday to think about the effects disasters (have) on their families and their communities. 

"The best thing you can do is (watch) the news and (see) what's going on in the East Coast.  They (can) imagine that going on here in Indianapolis (and) what would they need to do," said Wainscott.

Wainscott advises Hoosiers take a proactive approach.

"Now, is the time to do it, when you don't have to do it, so that when things happen, you can plan to be a survivor and not wait to be a victim," said Wainscott.

Officials are warning Hoosiers to bring their outdoor furniture and appliances inside.  Wainscott said Hoosiers should be prepared for power outages. Also, if you have a generator, check it now.  People can look up other tips and suggestions online

Meanwhile, 22 IPL employees are on their way to West Virginia.  They left around 1 p.m. Monday. They will go to a staging area first and then when the storm hits, they will be directed where to help.  Greg Fennig, Vice President of Community Relations with IPL, said it is part of the Great Lakes Mutual Assistance Organization where we help out and surrounding states help us out too.
IPL crews could be in the East Coast for two weeks.  It could be more or less.

"We don't know what's going to happen with this storm.... we have some wind advisories for tonight.  We have crews that are still here. We would never send all of our crews out of here," said Fennig. 

"If in some wild event that this storm ends up being more severe than what we anticipate, we'll call these crews back (to) come home because we have to make sure our customers come first."

Fennig said they will be looking at how windy it will get in Indiana and the impact it could have. 

"The two biggest impacts that we have for outages are lightning and high winds.  And, obviously, we don't anticipate any lightning at this point and the high winds are much more devastating.

"When you have green leaves that are wet on trees, since most of the leaves are down now, it doesn't end up being quite as much of an issue.

There is also a strategic tree trimming process which IPL could implement. Crews will be ready to go in the event Indiana experiences wind or storm damage.

"We have crews that are available 24/7 and if we have outages, we call them in and we get to work," said Fennig.

If there is a power line on the ground and if there is an emergency, people should call 911. You should not go near downed power lines.  If there are power outages, you can report them at (317) 261-8111.

Other officials suggest people bring in their Halloween decorations for the next couple of days and then bring them back out for Halloween.  Pumpkins could be a problem if winds carry them away.

Herman Wyss who has lived in Fountain Square his entire life said he is not worried about heavy winds causing problems in Central Indiana. 

"Being here, I don't really expect a whole lot from the storm," Wyss said.  "No, we aren't doing anything special. We'll just watch and see what happens and put stuff back together, if it does blow around."

Roberta Brown is also not worried about the wind.

"They've been talking about us having some wind, but I don't think it'll be that bad," Brown said.

Brown said she does not plan to move her outdoor furniture or appliances inside.  She said she is thinking more about people who live on the East Coast.

"I don't think we're going to have that. I hope we don't, if we do, I hope it don't destroy too much," Brown said.

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