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February 14, 2017 • Headline News
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All weather radios do not receive signal in Ripley County

Wanda English Burnett

Some residents of Ripley County have experienced trouble with getting a signal over their weather radios. This has been a problem that the emergency management agency has been made aware of, and is in the process of trying to get it corrected. The EMA hosted a press conference last week for area media to explain where they are with the project of getting a 1,000 watt transmitter to improve broadcast reception for the entire county. EMA Director Patrick Rose was not available for the conference due to the massive apartment fire in Batesville. However, others knowledgeable about the situation were on hand to talk with the media.

Deputy Director of Ripley County EMAWANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Rich Corkhum, deputy director of the Ripley County Emergency Management Agency, referred to a map of the county at a press conference last week. He was showing where the all hazard weather radios are not reaching with a signal.

According to Rich Corkhum, deputy director of EMA and project coordinator, who is a retired Navy Chief, the county gets weather warnings from the National Weather Service, Wilmington, Covington, Ky., and from Seymour. He said some people in the county are not able to receive a signal from either on their NWS (NOAA Weather radio) making it a bad situation. Of course, this is only one venue to receive weather warnings. Everyone should have back up forms of receiving alerts, television, phones, radios, etc., If you have a smart phone you can also get alerts.

But, he along with Matthew Chastain, Civilian Air Patrol with EMS, noted that many people may not have the smart phones and/or the capability of installing an additional antenna to make the radio come in better. The weather radios provide another form of redundant communication allowing citizens to receive the alert directly from the National Weather Service.

After the tornado went through the county five years ago taking three lives from the town of Holton, Rose went through the area trying to make sure every citizen had a weather radio who needed one, primarily focusing on areas where historically tornadoes have touched down. To assist residents, Ripley County EMA in a partnership with the local trustee or town clerk split the battery cost and provided people with a programmed radio. They are also advised that if there is an issue to bring them back, and that due to the signal situation, this radio will need to be placed in a location that receives the best signal.

The National Weather Service in Wilmington has agreed to provide the transmitter that will improve this reception. Rose stated that is a great gift but is a major project that will require an in-depth research and proper vetting in order to be reviewed for public funding. Ripley County EMA needs to provide an accurate cost for the short and long-term funding of this project. This is a construction project and also has specific compliance requirements according to Rose.

The EMA will be meeting with NWS Wilmington in the next couple of weeks to discuss logistics and project details. Rose stated that EMA has a tremendous relationship with NWS Wilmington and are their first Storm Ready Indiana County. This relationship will remain strong and updates will be provided to the elected officials as they become available.

Huge exercise coming to Muscatatuck Urban Training Center

The Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville is gearing up for a massive exercise that will last from April 16 to May 14. This federal emergency response exercise will simulate a national emergency incident in order to test the preparedness of federal response teams. It is dubbed, “Guardian Response.”

There will be increased activity during this time around the MUTC area and definitely inside. Even the air space will have action going on as smoke machines will be enacted to create the feel of a burning city. Flight operations will also play a large part in the exercise. Several roads in the area will be blocked. The facility will be closed to all civilian traffic during the exercise. In creating the look of a city that has had a catastrophic event, there will be old mobile homes and debris strewn about the campus, which will block roads, creating a disaster area. Destroyed cars will be strewn about as well.

Brush Creek Reservoir will be closed to civilians during from April 13 until May 2 due to the exercise. No boating or fishing will be allowed during exercises.

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