‘Severe Weather Awareness Week’ to take place March 21–27
Practice severe weather safety protocol, throughout Ohio’s statewide tornado drill, Wednesday, March 24th.
COLUMBUS, Ohio –– The past year has illustrated the importance of public vigilance and security, as with warmer weather arrives, presenting a host of potential incidents and hazards, including severe weather. Disasters can happen anytime, anywhere, and Ohioans should be prepared.
“Everything we focus on here in Ohio is about safety and preparedness. It’s about getting vaccinated and slowing the spread of COVID-19. It’s about keeping Ohioans healthy and saving lives now and in the future,” says Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Whether a medical emergency or severe weather event, it’s imperative that Ohioans know how to respond during times of crisis.”
In a coordinated effort with the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, Governor DeWine has proclaimed March 21–27 ‘Severe Weather Awareness Week’ and is encouraging Ohioans to prepare themselves for spring and summer weather hazards, including home emergencies.
“Severe weather is not going to put itself on hold because of COVID-19. Ohio’s temperatures often fluctuate between cold and warm during late winter or early spring, which is the perfect formula for tornadoes,” said Ohio Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Sima Merick. “Fortunately, we haven’t had any tornadoes this winter. But last January, two separate EF-0 tornadoes touched down in Miami County on the same day. Being a Midwestern state, we have to be ready. Severe Weather Awareness Week is the perfect time to not only restock your emergency supplies, but also review your emergency plans and practice your safety drills.”
At 9:50 a.m. on Wednesday, March 24, each municipality will participate in a statewide tornado drill and Emergency Alert System test, in which Ohio counties will sound and test their outdoor warning sirens. Businesses, schools, and households are also encouraged to practice and assess their tornado drills and emergency plans at this time.
What can Ohioans do during Severe Weather Awareness Week?
Prepare for weather and home emergencies: Families, schools, and businesses should update or establish their safety plans, execute tornado and fire drills, and determine where to go and what to do in the event of flooding, thunderstorms, tornadoes, or a fire. OSCSWA encourages Ohioans to integrate COVID-19 safety protocols into their procedures, by way of taking shelter while following social and physical distancing guidelines. Disposable face masks, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes should be included in emergency supply kits.
Know Ohio’s weather threats: Ohio’s weather threats included in the period from early spring to summer include snowmelt resulting flooding, tornadoes, and thunderstorms. Visit the OCSWA website to view current Ohio weather and review severe weather safety and preparedness information.
As reiterated annually, never attempt to cross a flooded road on foot or in a vehicle. Manhole covers or the ground underneath could be washed away. Turn Around Don’t Drown®.
Know the difference between storm watches and warnings:
A tornado WATCH is issued in circumstances under which conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and near areas designated by the National Weather Service. In the case of a tornado watch, it’s crucial to be prepared to advance to a place of safety, if the watch is upgraded to a warning or hazardous inclement weather approaches.
A tornado WARNING is only issue in the case a tornado is imminent or active. Warnings indicate impending danger to life and property. Seek structurally-sound shelter immediately.
In the midst of tornado drills and warnings, remember to DUCK:
D — Go DOWN to the lowest level, stay away from windows
U — Get UNDER something (such as a basement staircase or heavy table or desk)
C — COVER the head
K — KEEP in shelter until the storm has passed
Cellphones may also alert you to storm warnings. Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are free notifications delivered to mobile devices in conjunction with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. WEAs notify listeners of imminent weather, local emergencies requiring evacuation or immediate action, as well as AMBER Alerts.