Hamilton County Emergency Management assists after tornado hits Whiteland


Hamilton County Emergency Management officials stepped up to help Johnson County after a tornado hit Whiteland March 31.

Shane Booker, executive director of Hamilton County Emergency Management, said his agency had monitored reports of the tornado in Sullivan, but noted the line of storms had yet to pass through Hamilton County. Booker said that as the storms passed, reports came in from Johnson County of multiple injuries, homes destroyed and damages to outbuildings and vehicles, especially in Whiteland.

The National Weather Service reported that an EF3 tornado hit Whiteland, meaning it had wind speeds of 136 to 165 mph.

“When we knew the threat to Hamilton County had passed, we reached out to Johnson County offering support,” Booker said.

Booker said the team that worked in the county’s Emergency Operations Center transitioned to a response task force with light towers, side-by-side ATVs, a mobile command center and enhanced satellite communications, adding that Johnson County accepted Hamilton County’s offer for assistance.

  Hamilton County was assigned the role of logistics when teams arrived, according to Booker.

“The team did a great job setting up the command center, deploying to the hardest-hit areas, assisting with lighting and donations at the high school and helping the fire departments by transporting families out of the damaged areas with our ATVs,” he said. “We are grateful to the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners and the Emergency Management Advisory Council for providing us the latitude to help others quickly.”