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Chris Williams                               CERT & Citizen Corps Coordinator       (614) 794-0213
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Monday, March 6, 2017

Ohio’s Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week Held March 19 – 25, 2017

Statewide Tornado Drill held March 22nd at 9:50 a.m.

(COLUMBUS, OHIO) – To raise awareness of the hazardous side of spring weather, Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security (FCEM&HS) will recognize Ohio’s Spring Severe Weather Awareness Week and Flood Safety Awareness Week, March 19 – 25, 2017.  Residents are reminded to prepare for severe weather before it happens.  Hazardous conditions can occur anytime and anywhere without advance notice.

As part of Severe Weather Awareness Week, FCEM&HS urges the community to participate in the annual Statewide Tornado Drill on Wednesday, March 22, 2017 at 9:50 a.m. At that time, the Franklin County Outdoor Warning Siren System will be activated one time for three minutes – a longer tone than in the regular Wednesday noon tests. The test tone will be the same “tornado warning” tone which would be used in an actual tornado warning. 

“As the severe weather season approaches, we encourage everyone to take some time during Severe Weather Awareness Week to make a safety plan for family, friends, neighbors and co-workers,” said Jeffrey J. Young, Director, Franklin County Emergency Management & Homeland Security. “Being prepared and knowing what to do during an emergency is vital.”

FCEM&HS encourages residents to be prepared for all types of severe weather by following these important safety procedures:

Know the Risk – Learn and understand the different types of weather hazards facing Franklin County.  The top hazards can be found on the agency website at

Know the Weather Terms – Know the difference between storm watches and storm warnings. For example, a tornado watch is issued by the National Weather Service when conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the area. A tornado warning is issued by the NWS when a tornado has been detected by radar or sighted by storm spotters.

Receive Notifications - Register for ALERT Franklin County at to receive severe weather alerts and important information.  Residents are encouraged to have a NOAA Weather Radio and tune into TV or radio newscasts for up-to-date weather information.

Have a Plan/Build a Kit - Develop and practice an emergency plan with your family and include your pets. Know how to communicate and have a designated safe meeting place.  Build an emergency supply kit.  Include enough food, water other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. 

According to the 2016 Franklin County Risk Assessment, tornadoes and flooding are among the top five risks facing Franklin County.  FCEM&HS offers the following information and safety tips for these top hazards:


Tornadoes develop from severe thunderstorms. They are usually preceded by very heavy rain and/or large hail. A thunderstorm accompanied by hail indicates that the storm has large amounts of energy and may be severe. In general, the larger the hailstones, the more potential there is for damaging winds and/or tornadoes.

Tornado Safety Tips:

Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or to commercial radio or television newscasts for the latest information. In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials.
Be alert to changing weather conditions. If you see approaching storms or hear a load roar, similar to a freight train be prepared to take shelter immediately
Listen. Outdoor warning sirens across Franklin County will sound loudly when a tornado warning is issued for the county.
Go at once to the basement, storm cellar or lowest level of the building. If there is no basement, go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.
If that is impossible, get away from windows and to the center of the room. Get under a piece of sturdy furniture, such as a workbench, heavy table or desk, and hold on to it. Use your arms to protect your head and neck.
If you are outside in a car or in a mobile home, get out and find shelter in the lowest level of a nearby sturdy building. If there is none, lie flat in a low spot, using your arms to protect your head. Do not go under highway bridges.


Flooding is the accumulation of too much water in too little time can be deceivingly dangerous, especially to drivers. Cars can become buoyant in only two feet of water, and the force of six inches of swiftly moving water can knock an adult person off his or her feet. 

Flood Safety Tips: 

Understand flood terms such as flood watch, flood warning, and flash flood warning. Get more information at 
Plan multiple evacuation routes.
Avoid flood prone areas, and never let children play close to creeks or storm drains. 
Get to higher ground immediately, by foot if necessary. 
Never drive into flooded areas. Remember “Turn Around, Don’t Drown”
Stay tuned to local television and radio and NOAA All Hazards Weather Radio for local flood warnings and instructions on precautionary/protective actions. 
Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe. 
Listen for news reports to learn whether the community’s water supply is safe to drink. 
Service damaged septic tanks, cesspools, pits, and leaching systems as soon as possible – damaged sewage systems are serious health hazards. 
Clean and disinfect everything that got wet.  

FCEM&HS, a government agency serving 42 local jurisdictions in Franklin County, coordinates countywide emergency and disaster planning, education, warning, response and recovery.


Citizen Preparedness
Why Prepare?

There are real benefits to being prepared:
The need to prepare is real:

Are You Ready? - An In-depth Guide to Citizen Preparedness Course

This course was developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which is the agency responsible for responding to all-hazards and for helping state and local governments and individuals prepare for emergencies.  It contains step-by-step advice on how to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

Used in conjunction with information and instructions from local emergency management offices and the American Red Cross, Are You Ready? will give you what you need to be prepared.

The purpose of this guide is to help you protect yourself and your family in the event of an emergency.  Through applying what you have learned in this guide, you are taking the necessary steps to be ready when an event occurs.

(Source: U.S Army Corps of Engineers)

Every citizen in this country is part of a national emergency management system that is all about protection - protecting people and property from all types of hazards.  Think of the national emergency management system as a pyramid with you, the citizen, forming the base of the structure.  At this level, you have the responsibility to protect yourself and your family by knowing what to do before, during, and after an event.  Some examples of what you can do follow:




Financial Preparedness

Help After a Disaster: Applicant's Guide to the Individuals & Households Program

IS-403: Introduction to Individual Assistance Course

What is the Definition of an Emergency?

The Ohio Revised Code (ORC) 5502.21 defines an emergency as: Except as provided in section 5502.41 of the Revised Code, "emergency" means any period during which the congress of the United States or a chief executive has declared or proclaimed that an emergency exists.

What is the Definition of a Disaster?

ORC 5502.21 defines a disaster as: "Disaster" means any imminent threat or actual occurrence of widespread or severe damage to or loss of property, personal hardship or injury, or loss of life that results from any natural phenomenon or act of a human.

Personal Preparedness in America: Findings from the Citizen Corps National Survey

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