Information About All Hazards

Tippecanoe County is located in a zone which will likely be affected by a Richter 7.0+ earthquake with an epicenter located in the New Madrid fault. More extensive damage will be felt in the southern part of the state, which may result in displaced individuals seeking temporary shelter in Tippecanoe County. Additionally, there may be a disruption of resources, such as natural gas, so residents should have an emergency preparedness kit at the ready.

Extreme Temperatures
Tippecanoe County is vulnerable to both extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures. Prolonged exposure to either can be dangerous for your health. The National Weather Service will issue critical updates with recommendations to protect yourself and your loved ones during these events.

Flooding (Including Flash)
Tippecanoe County is especially vulnerable to floods given the proximity of the Wabash River. Snow melt may also lead to flooding. Some floods develop slowly, however, “flash floods” can develop in a matter of minutes. It is important to stay away from low-lying areas and avoid driving through standing water on roadways.

Severe Thunderstorms
Thunderstorms can be especially dangerous due to lightning strikes and the potential for damage from hail and straight line winds. It is important to pay attention to statements issued by the National Weather Service; a “watch” tells you when and where severe weather is likely to occur, while a “warning” indicates that severe weather has been reported by spotters or indicated by radar. Each residence should have an emergency preparedness kit ready.

Severe Winter Storms
Severe winter storms pose a threat to Tippecanoe County. Winter storms can range from an extended period of moderate snowfall to a blizzard with white-out conditions lasting for days. Additional hazards that may accompany a winter storm are ice, sleet, freezing rain, and low temperatures. These cause hazardous driving conditions, and it is important to have an emergency preparedness kit in your residence and your vehicle in the event you become stranded.

Tippecanoe County is vulnerable to tornado activity. “Tornado season” typically occurs in the spring (March), but Tippecanoe County has been known to experience tornadoes as late as November. Tornadoes are extremely destructive, with possible wind speeds up to 300 miles per hour. They may develop suddenly, and it is important to seek shelter in a basement or ground floor in a windowless room immediately.

Epidemic Disease Outbreaks
An outbreak is characterized by the extent of the spread of the disease. It is considered an “epidemic” if the amount of people with the disease is greater than the normal level of disease for the area. Examples of outbreaks include influenza, Tuberculosis, and Salmonellosis. The Tippecanoe County Health Department routinely monitors and investigates outbreaks, and you can lower your risk of becoming ill by getting all appropriate vaccinations, washing your hands, and avoiding touching your face, eyes, mouth, and nose.

A pandemic (typically influenza) occurs when a novel and highly contagious disease emerges that affects populations around the world. During such an event, resources such as vaccines and healthcare providers and facilities would become quickly overwhelmed. Therefore, it is critical to receive the flu vaccine early and have an emergency kit containing supplies such as food, water, and any medications you might need.

Food Borne Illness
Food Borne illnesses can be caused by microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, or parasites) or toxins. After consuming the contaminated food/drink, symptoms may occur in as little as less than 1 hour or may not develop for days, depending upon the illness. You can protect yourself and your family by washing your hands and surfaces with soap and water before, during, and after food preparation, keeping utensils used on raw foods and raw foods away from cooked foods, cooking food to proper temperature with the help of a thermometer, chilling foods promptly after serving in refrigeration of 40ºF or less, and ensuring hot foods are kept hot. Suspected incidents of food borne illness should be reported to the Tippecanoe County Health Department.

Biological Attack/Terrorism
A biological attack is the deliberate release of illness-causing biological substances (bacteria, viruses, and/or toxins). They can be dispersed in a variety of ways: through the air as aerosols, via infected insects and animals (such as mosquitoes, flies, and livestock), through contaminated food and water supplies, and/or through person-to-person transmission. A biological attack may not be immediately obvious, and may require you to shelter in place for a period of time. It is critical to have an emergency kit containing food, water, and other supplies.

Chemical Attack/Terrorism
Chemical agents that pose a threat include vapors, aerosols, liquids, and solids that have toxic effects on people, animals, and plants. Some chemical agents may be odorless and tasteless and can have an immediate effect (seconds or minutes) or delayed effect (hours to 2 days). Chemicals are difficult to produce and often dissipate rapidly in the open environment, and can be sprayed by aircraft, boats, or vehicles. Signs of a chemical attack include difficulty breathing, eye irritation, nausea, loss of coordination, and/or having a burning sensation in the nose, throat, and lungs. Building an emergency supply kit containing non-perishable food and water as well as supplies to close off doors and windows is critical.

Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Incident
Hazardous materials include explosives, flammable and combustible substances, and poisonous and radioactive materials. Such products are shipped daily on highways and railways, and are most often released as the result of transportation or chemical accidents in manufacturing plants. Due to the railway system and manufacturing plants located within Tippecanoe County, residents are vulnerable and may be required to evacuate or shelter in place. An emergency supply kit containing non-perishable food and water plus supplies to cover windows and doors is strongly suggested. An additional portable emergency kit is suggested as well, in the event you may be required to evacuate.

Nuclear Blast
Although a nuclear device can range from a small portable device to a large weapon carried by an intercontinental missile, all nuclear devices can have deadly effects when exploded. Blinding light, thermal and nuclear radiation, and fires caused by heat pulse and destruction from the blast are a few of these deadly effects. Though experts believe a nuclear attack is less likely than other forms, it is still important to be familiar with the ways in which you can reduce your harm. Distance yourself from fallout particles by sheltering in a basement or on a middle of a high-rise building, shield yourself from fallout particles with dense, heavy materials (thick walls, concrete, books, earth), and ensure that you do not leave your shelter until the fallout radiation has lost intensity (usually after 2 weeks).

Radiological Dispersion
A radiological dispersion device (also known as a “dirty bomb”) combines a conventional explosion device (such as a bomb) with radioactive material in order to scatter radioactive material over a widespread area. Such devices require less technical knowledge and the radioactive elements are easier to come by, as they are typically used in medicine, industry, and agriculture, making this type of attack more appealing and more likely to occur. The size of area affected would depend on the size and sophistication of the explosive device, and type, quality, and quantity of radioactive material used. Just as with a nuclear blast, residents should prepare to either shelter in place or evacuate and have an emergency supply kit at the ready.

Multiple House/Building Fire
Fire spreads quickly; a structure can be engulfed in a matter of a few minutes. This characteristic makes it easy for a fire to spread to surrounding structures, creating the issue of a multiple house/building fire. Residents should be familiar with and practice multiple evacuation routes as well as how to use a fire extinguisher. Smoke alarms should be checked regularly and with batteries replaced every 6 months. Find further information and resources on how to prevent a home or building fire.