Preparedness is key to safety.Stay informed and be alert.
When you call Ohio your home, you’re no stranger to the whims of Mother Nature. From bone-chilling winters with mountains of snow to the unpredictability of spring floods, and the occasional tornado, Ohio homeowners face a unique set of challenges. While we can’t control the weather, we can control how prepared we are for it.
Do You Have An Emergency Kit?
Every Ohio homeowner should have an emergency kit on hand. Here are some essential items you should include, separating between what is needed for cold-weather emergencies (think blankets and portable heaters) and those required for other disasters (such as first aid supplies and flashlights). Remember to periodically check that supplies for expiration dates. Food and batteries should be replaced as needed. Keep your kit in an easily accessible location, known to all family members, and have smaller, portable versions for your vehicles as well.
Cold-Weather Emergency Items:
- Blankets and Sleeping Bags: Provide warmth during power outages or when stranded.
- Portable Heaters and Hand Warmers: Battery-operated or propane heaters and disposable hand warmers for additional warmth and comfort.
- Winter Clothing: Extra layers, warm socks, gloves, hats and boots.
- Snow Shovels, Ice Melt, Rock Salt, Sand: To clear pathways and traction on icy surfaces.
- Emergency Food: Non-perishable food items like canned goods, energy bars, and freeze-dried meals.
- Bottled Water: Store at least one gallon of water per person per day.
General Emergency Items:
- First Aid Kit – Including bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and prescription medications.
- Flashlights – Make sure to have extra batteries or hand-cranked flashlights.
- Battery-Powered or Hand-Crank Radio: Stay informed about weather updates and emergency broadcasts.
- Cell Phone Charger: Portable chargers or solar-powered chargers.
- Important Documents: Copies of essential documents like identification, insurance policies, and medical records stored in a waterproof container.
- Cash: Small denominations of cash in case ATMs are inaccessible.
- Whistle: For signaling for help.
- Duct Tape and Plastic Sheeting: Useful for emergency repairs.
- Matches or Lighters: Waterproof matches or windproof lighters.
- Personal Hygiene Items: Such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, and sanitary supplies.
- Multi-Purpose Tool Kit: Screwdrivers, pliers, Swiss Army knife, and other basic tools.
- Maps: Local area maps and a compass.
- Pet Supplies: If you have pets, include food, water, and medications for them.
- Entertainment: Books, playing cards, or puzzles to pass the time
- Baby Supplies: If you have infants, include diapers, formula, and baby food.
Developing a Family Emergency Plan
Your family’s safety should be your top priority. We have outlined steps below to help your family create an effective communication plan in the event of an emergency.
- Communication Plan
Compile a list of important contact numbers, including local authorities, neighbors, and out-of-town relatives. Ensure every family member has a copy.
- Designated Out-of-Area Contact
Choose a friend or family member who lives in another region to serve as a central point of contact. This person can help relay information if local lines are down
- Meeting Points
Primary Meeting Location: Select a designated meeting place near your home where family members should gather immediately in case of evacuation. This could be a neighbor’s house or a nearby park.
- Emergency Kit Access
Ensure all family members know where the emergency kit is located. Label it clearly for easy access.
- Evacuation Plan
Identify multiple escape routes from your home and discuss them with your family. Practice evacuation drills regularly.
Determine how you’ll evacuate if necessary, considering different scenarios such as using your vehicle, public transportation, or seeking assistance from neighbors.
- Children and Pets
If you have young children, designate a trusted adult to pick them up from school or daycare in case you’re unable to do so. Plan for your pets’ safety by arranging for their care in emergencies. Ensure you have pet carriers, food, and medications in your emergency kit.
- Medical Needs
Maintain a record of each family member’s allergies, medications, and medical conditions in your emergency kit. Ensure an adequate supply of prescription medications is readily available.
Clearly define responsibilities for each family member during an emergency. Assign tasks such as gathering pets, shutting off utilities, or assisting younger siblings. Practice these responsibilities during family emergency drills to ensure everyone knows their role.
- Stay Informed
Familiarize yourself with local weather alerts and emergency broadcasts. Discuss how you’ll receive updates during an emergency. Download relevant emergency apps that provide real-time information and alerts
- Document Storage
Store copies of essential documents (identification, insurance policies, medical records) in a waterproof and fireproof container. Make sure everyone knows where these documents are kept.
National Disasters and Readiness
Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness