Emergency officials advocate storm shelters

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FISHERS – Hamilton County emergency officials are behind a big push for people to purchase storm shelters.

Hamilton County Emergency Management Executive Director Tom Sivak and Fishers Fire Chief Steve Orusa want people to think about their plan before there is an emergency. They want people to be prepared.

“I always talk about a kit, a plan, and a stand,” Tom Sivak said.

Sivak purchased a storm shelter two weeks ago and installed it in his backyard. He said the $4,500 investment is worth it for his family.

“Safety, we can’t put a price on and so holding back on a couple of vacations (is) going to help us make sure that our family is safe at all times,” Sivak said.

Sivak understands that not everyone can purchase a storm shelter now. He just wants to make sure people have a plan that will work for their family, in case there is a natural disaster. His family purchased the storm shelter after the Oklahoma tornado.

“When it comes down to family through preparedness, (it) starts at home. Regardless of the measures that take place, we have to look within first,” Sivak said.

Fire Chief Steve Orusa wants people in the county to consider shelters when they think about their safety plans during bad weather. Orusa began looking into them because of a trip he took earlier this year.

“He made a trip to Israel to learn how to work on their preparedness plan. And, they had storm shelters and bomb shelters that would kind of be used in both ways and what an important feature it was,”said Deanna Matthews with the Fishers Fire Department.

Matthews said Orusa has not purchased a storm shelter yet.

“It’s important to him. It’s near and dear in his heart. It’s something that he and his family are considering,” Matthews said.

Both agencies want to make sure people know what to do in case of an emergency.

“In Indiana, just know there are so many storms that produce favorable weather for tornadoes and we encourage people to be prepared in the event. So, it’s not an afterthought,” Matthews said.

Sivak said he made sure his storm shelter had a certificate and met FEMA regulations.