Central Ohio Agencies Offer Tips To Weather The Storm


UPDATED: Wednesday June 12, 2013 5:44 PM

 The American Red Cross, Better Business Bureau of central Ohio and the Columbus Division of Fire are providing tips for residents to help plan for emergency weather situations.

Central Ohio Red Cross officials said that households, schools and businesses should have a plan for severe weather situations, including rain, strong winds and possible tornadoes.

The Red Cross recommends that individuals and families do the following to prepare:

*    Make a home disaster plan
*    Create an emergency preparedness kit
*    Heed storm warnings
*    Prepare for high winds.

Red Cross officials said that family members should pick a spot in a home to gather during severe weather. The location should be away from windows and glass doors.

The preparedness kit should have essential medications, canned foods, a can opener, bottled water, flashlights, a battery powered radio and extra batteries, according to the Red Cross.

Items that could be carried away by high winds should be removed before storms.

The Central Ohio Better Business Bureau advises consumers to have even more essentials packed in a survival kit. In the kit, the BBB suggests having a packet with emergency documents such as Social Security cards, birth certificates, passports and any other official hard-to-replace documents.

Both your contact information and your emergency contacts’ info is something that you should also include, according to the BBB.

Other items that consumers are advised to have ready are copies of your will/living trust and medical letter of instructions, copies of your homeowners, auto, medical, life, disability, and other insurance agents/brokers contact information and policy numbers.

For your finances, the BBB suggests having your bank, investment and credit card/loan accounts information ready, including the institution names, phone numbers and account numbers.

Health records, such as information on immunization, records, allergies, dietary restrictions, medications and medical/surgical treatments should also be ready according to the BBB.

If you have pets, having their information ready is also essential. This includes a description of each pet, their veterinarian’s contact information as well as any other important medical notes, according to the BBB.

Personal property information such as car information, home purchase papers/deeds, and any other home inventory items should also be ready before the storms, according to the BBB.

The BBB recommends families having these supplies ready:

*    Water and food for three days (at least one gallon per person per day)
*    Blankets
*    Manual can opener
*    First aid kit
*    Dust mask that will help filter contaminated air, and plastic sheeting and duct tape to provide protection from the outdoor elements 
*    Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal hygiene purposes
*    Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
*    Local maps
*    Small battery-operated radio with extra batteries or an emergency crank combination radio, flashlight, and clock device

In addition, always know the local emergency plans for shelter and evacuation, as well as local emergency contacts.

In addition, the Columbus Division of Fire has also provided severe storm safety tips. Among them include:

 

*    Avoid using electrical equipment and appliances and preferably unplug things like televisions, air conditioners and computers due to them being excellent conductors of electricity 
*    Close your blinds and shades as a precaution to prevent shattered windows from falling into your home
*    Instead of using candles that could be potential fire hazards during power outages, use flashlights instead
*    If you are using tradition candles, place them on a stable surface away from combustible items and put the flame out when leaving the room or going to bed
*    Do not use a generator in an enclosed space even if your windows and doors are open due to carbon monoxide being able to accumulate and hang around for hours 
*    Only drive when it is absolute necessary and stay clear of flooded roads and washed-out bridges
*    Avoid power lines that have fallen down
*    Never use a gas oven for a heater, and in the event of a power failure stay at the home of a friend, relative or check into a shelter until it returns.

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