Ohio has a history of crippling snow storms and severe winter weather events that resulted in long-term power outages and other severe damage. It is never too late to prepare for winter weather emergencies. Update your disaster supply kit to ensure that it has blankets and fresh supplies for winter weather. Everyone, regardless of age, should be prepared for a disaster whether it’s winter, spring, summer, or fall.
To help prepare for the upcoming winter months, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness recommends the following:
Update your disaster preparedness plans: Every home, school, business and organization should have written plans for the different types of disasters that can occur. Review the plans with the entire family or staff. Everyone should know what to do in the event of a snow or ice storm, a prolonged power outage, a flood or fire. Post contact information for your local emergency management agency. Prepare and practice drills that require sheltering in place and evacuation. Update your emergency contact list and establish a meeting place outside of the home, school or business, where others will know where to find or meet you.
Prepare winter disaster kits for your home and vehicle: Refresh your nonperishable foods and bottled water stored in your disaster kits. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and radios. Winter emergency kits should include warm clothing, blankets, flashlights, new batteries, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated or hand-cranked radio, first aid kit, and enough nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day) to sustain each family member for at least three days. Have stored food and bottled water and supplies for your pets as well. Ensure that vehicles have annual tune ups and maintenance checks and try to maintain a least a half tank of fuel in vehicles to reduce the chance of fuel-line freeze up.
Invest in a NOAA Public Alert/Weather Radio: Every home, school and business should have a tone-alert weather radio with a battery back-up. Weather and public alert radios are programmed to automatically sound an alert during public safety and severe weather events. Attachments such as vibrating pager devices and bed shakers are available at electronics stores for people with hearing impairment. Click on http://www.weather.gov/nwr/ for additional information.
Mitigate your home for winter: Cut and remove low-hanging and dead tree branches. Ice, snow, and strong winds can cause tree limbs to break and fall. Have your gutters cleaned. Snow and ice can build up quickly if gutters are clogged with debris. Have auxiliary heaters, furnaces and fireplaces maintenance checked or serviced before using. If using a portable generator, read instructions thoroughly to guard against carbon monoxide poisoning. Ensure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy; invest in flood insurance.