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Cathy Taylor
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Kiwanis gets ready for tornado season

The Carmi Kiwanis Club met on March 9. President Jeremy Jordan called the meeting to order and recognized guests. Mrs. Amy Dixon, principal of Jefferson Learning Center, introduced a group of students who were presented the Most Valuable Bulldog Award. To the delight of the club, one of the students was the winner of the 50/50 drawing. Barry Cleveland reported that a group from the club participated in an interclub meeting with the Kiwanis Club of Ft. Myers, FL. Those participating were Art Saunders, Thys Bax, Dan Drone, and Barry Cleveland. Jeremy Jordan announced that the theme for 2017 Corn Day is “The Magic of Movies.”

Chris Myers introduced the speaker, Jim Totten, Director of the White County Emergency Management Agency. Jim explained that we are at the beginning of the three month tornado season. He showed the club a couple of weather radios. He said that on the night of the recent tornado, his heart stopped when he heard his portable radio say, “There is a tornado on the ground in White County.” Jim urged everyone to own a weather radio. “For $30, it’s a real life saver,” he said.

Jim described the multitude of responsibilities the director has when there is an emergency like a tornado. He inspected all of the damaged thirty-three homes. He coordinated with the Red Cross as well as the National Weather Service. Utility repairs, debris management, and travel safety are just some of the duties of the emergency director.

Director Totten brought with him a kit containing the basics that everyone needs to be prepared in the event of an emergency. The basics include canned food with can opener, water, a whistle, batteries, a radio, a first aid kit, a lantern, and a change of clothes. Jim remarked, “I don’t want to scare anybody, but I want everybody to be prepared.”

Jim explained that he works for White County, and is responsible for any emergency. Those emergencies can include weather events, flooding, and HASMAT situations. His job requires training. In 2016 he took 101 hours of emergency training. In closing, Jim instructed the club that if anyone spots a potential emergency, to contact the sheriff’s office.