Storm Prep, Know Your Risk

Published 04/29 2014 07:21PM

Updated 04/30 2014 09:10AM

It’s easy to sympathize with victims of a natural disaster and there are ways to help. It’s important to know what to do before opening your wallet and before severe weather strikes the Hoosier state.

"There’s plenty of different sites they can go to make a wise giving decision," said Marjorie Stephens with the Northeast Indiana Better Business Bureau says when disaster strikes, so will the scammers.

"It's very easy to get on the internet and say we are the family of victims that were hurt and we want to donate, well they could be scammers."

Stephens suggests using the BBB website to verify organizations credibility. But scammers aren’t just online, they’re also on foot.

"Not only are we dealing with possible fraudulent donations, there’s what we call storm chasers who will go out say they’ll do roof repairs. Once they come to the door you need to make sure that you're getting quotes and comparing apples to apples," said Stephens.

Identifying the crooks is just as important as preparing for a storm in our area. Last November Kokomo experienced two tornadoes that leveled out some neighborhoods. There weren’t any deaths and many believe it’s because residents there were well prepared.

"You have to want to be prepared and you also have to understand that you have to do it all the time. You can’t do it once in the morning for the day or once for the week," said Bernie Beier with the Allen County Homeland Security. He says weather preparedness is the easiest way to save a life.

"As Hoosiers we know that if you don’t like the weather stick around and itll change. Sometimes that change is not always a good thing so we have to be prepared for that."

The National Weather Service says more severe weather is expected through the South this week which could mean more devastation.

Handouts are available at the Allen County Homeland Security office located on the 7th flood at 1 Main st. in downtown Fort Wayne. You can go there or visit their website

The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations and has released the following:

The Red Cross is helping people throughout the South and Midwest with shelter, food, relief supplies, health and mental health services to those affected by this devastating storm system.

• Red Cross workers opened or supported community shelters in seven states Monday night including Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi and Virginia.

• More than 100 people sought refuge in the shelters and many more visited them for meals and information about what help is available.

• People who need to find a shelter can contact their local Red Cross chapter or access the Red Cross shelter map on This map is updated every 30 minutes with shelter locations by address, city, state and/or zip code.

• As weather conditions permit, Red Cross emergency vehicles will hand out meals, snacks and relief supplies in affected communities. Damage assessment teams are also helping to determine the full scope of the destruction left behind by the tornadoes.

• This has been a deadly and devastating storm and Red Cross disaster mental health workers are available to help people cope with the aftermath

• The Red Cross will be on the ground in these affected areas for weeks to help people get back on their feet.

• More workers, supplies and equipment stand are being mobilized in case they are needed.

More than 75 million people are still at risk from this storm Tuesday in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Red Cross chapters are preparing to respond if needed and people in the path of the storm should also get prepared by downloading the Red Cross tornado app.

• People can use the app’s “I’m Safe’ button to let loved ones know they are okay and find the location of Red Cross shelters.

• The app also features a siren and warning alert that signals when a tornado warning has been issued, as well as an all-clear alert that lets users know when a tornado warning has expired or been cancelled.

• The Red Cross sent out 4.4 million severe weather notifications in the last 48 hours through its tornado app for tornado and thunderstorm watches and warnings.

People affected by severe weather and other disasters need help now. To support those affected by disasters like tornadoes, floods and other crises, please make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

• Donations for Disaster Relief enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

• Donations to Red Cross Disaster Relief allowed us to respond immediately to this severe weather and are providing help right now such as food, mental health services and recovery support.



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