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Indianapolis airport officials show off their severe weather safety plan

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Mar. 20, 2014) — When severe weather strikes, preparedness is key. But when you are responsible for more than just your family, it takes a lot of work. The Indianapolis International Airport has detailed plan in place to keep you safe.

About 20,000 travelers come through the airport every day, so it is necessary to have a plan in place. Because during severe weather season, a storm could strike at any moment. The airport has an area that is considered a tornado shelter should one threaten.

“It’s constructed by steel and concrete walls in the area, much safer, it’s away from the glass,” said Michael Medvescek, senior director of airport operations. “We all love the glass at the airport, but during a heavy storm, any kind of debris flying through the glass, that’d be dangerous to our passengers.”

When a watch is issued, they keep a close eye on things, but when storms get closer, storm spotters are out.

“They go out in areas and report back to our airport dispatch center, the airport dispatch center then initiates all of the announcements,” Medvescek said.

The dispatch center is in a separate building on the airport property. It’s part of the Airport Operations Center/Emergency Operations Center. It is where the airport’s storm spotters give reports and monitor amateur radio feeds and even FOX59. The building is almost underground and solid enough to withstand 200 mph wind. That way, police, fire and emergency crews can keep working and keep you protected.

“This facility allows us the ability to secure the communications to make sure that those individuals are available,” said Andrew Burnett, AOC/EOC manager.

The airport is also certified “Storm Ready” by the National Weather Service and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It’s based on the airport’s preparedness and ability to keep you safe. You can be sure the plan, tested today, does work. It’s been used before during severe weather events.

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