Pulaski County EMA Director Updates Commissioners on Flood Response

The Pulaski County Emergency Management Agency is assessing damage and helping residents clean up from recent flooding. EMA Director Sheri Gaillard gave an update to the county commissioners Monday. “I gave out 3,250 sandbags to the Pulaski County citizens,” she said. “Both the gauges are finally down into minor flooding stage, but damage assessment is still ongoing because there were a lot of places that we couldn’t get to still, at least 10 that I can think of off the top of my head.”

She said the damage assessment is part of the process of trying to get state or federal aid, but only uninsured damage to primary residences can be included. “So far, we’ve only been able to assess 53 primary residences that we’re aware of,” Gaillard explained. “It was difficult because some people weren’t home during the day, so you don’t know if it was a cabin or a primary residence. But we had 19 major affected, 18 minor, and then 16 just affected residences.”

Gaillard said some of the damage was severe. “I spoke to a lady today who does have flood insurance, so she doesn’t get added toward ours, but her insurance company is going to destroy her residence. It floated off the foundation two or three inches.”

Gaillard added that there are resources available to help those affected by the flooding. The State of Indiana has opened three one-stop disaster assistance centers, including one at the Demotte Town Hall at 112 Carnation Street SE. It will be open today, Thursday, and Saturday. There, residents will be able to meet with representatives from several state agencies, and pick up cleaning supply kits. Gaillard says smaller cleanup kits are available at the Pulaski County EMA office in Winamac. Additionally, those who need debris removal and sanitation assistance may be able to get free help by calling the Red Cross at 888-684-1441.

A local disaster emergency was declared in Pulaski County on February 26. County Attorney Kevin Tankersley said Monday the declaration had been signed by commissioners Kenny Becker and Jerry Locke, but wasn’t actually approved in a public meeting, as it should have been. The commissioners corrected that oversight by retroactively approving the signatures.

Tankersley said the local disaster emergency declaration was a necessary step in getting Pulaski County added to the state’s emergency disaster area. That, in turn, opens the door to possible financial assistance from the state and federal government.