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Preparing for winter

11/15/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

OHIO — When the remnants of Superstorm Sandy hit Ohio Oct. 29, it hit with a vengeance. It brought torrential winds, flooding, snow and ice. It downed trees and power lines, leaving more than 250,000 Ohioans without power for days. Superstorm Sandy showed Ohio, the East Coast and other states just how unpredictable weather can be. Superstorm Sandy re-emphasizes the importance of severe weather safety and preparedness.

On Nov. 11, the state of Ohio kicked off Ohio’s Winter Safety Awareness Week.

“Superstorm Sandy reinforced to us all the importance of severe weather and emergency preparedness,” said Nancy Dragani, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. “If you’re using a generator as an alternative power source, make sure you read the safety directions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and ensure they’re working properly. Conduct fire drills to ensure that everyone knows two ways out of any room.”

To help prepare for the upcoming winter months, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness recommends:

• Prepare 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. Review your homeowner’s insurance policy; consider your need for flood insurance.

• Prepare winter disaster kits for the home and vehicle. Refresh stored nonperishable foods and bottled water. 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 (1 gallon per person per day) to sustain every family member for several days. Have stored food, bottled water and supplies for your pets as well.

• Invest in a National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration public alert/weather radio. Click on www.weather.gov/nwr/ for more information.

• 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.

For additional information, visit OCSWA’s site at www.weathersafety.ohio.gov.

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