Central Ohio’s winter has been unseasonably warm and fairly quiet, but stormy spring weather may be right around the corner. Being prepared can help you and your family better handle severe weather and the power outages that often accompany it.

Develop a family plan:

  • Discuss with your family how to prepare and respond to the types of emergencies most likely to happen in your area.
  • Identify the safest rooms in your house (typically the basement or innermost room; put as many walls between you and the outside as possible).
  • Identify responsibilities for each member of your household and how you will work together as a team.
  • Practice executing your plan.

Put together or update your emergency kit:

  • Water – one gallon per person per day for three to seven days
  • Food – non-perishable and canned food supply for three to seven days (include can opener); pet food and bowls
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radio with extra batteries
  • Cell phone with charger
  • First aid kit and first aid book
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Anti-bacterial hand wipes or gel
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off water
  • Blanket or sleeping bag – one per person
  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Seasonal change of clothing, including sturdy shoes
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, feminine supplies
  • Extra house and car keys
  • Important documents – insurance policies, copy of driver’s license, Social Security card, bank account records
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Cash and change
  • Books, games or card

Know how to get alerts:

  • NOAA Weather Radio: Think of this as a “smoke detector” for severe weather alerts. A weather radio can be purchased cheaply, and will sound in the event that a warning is issued for your area. At night, this will wake you up so your family can get to a safe place.
  • Wireless Emergency Alerts: Most smart phones are enabled with Wireless Emergency Alerts. Make sure these are enabled by going into your notification settings. This will sound an alarm when a warning is issued for your area.
  • You can get the latest severe weather info through your local news station. If the weather becomes truly dangerous, like a tornado warning, most stations broadcast continuously until the threat has passed.

Know the difference between a severe weather WATCH and a WARNING:

  • A WATCH means severe weather is possible, but not yet happening. Keep checking up on the weather throughout the day, have a plan ready in case warnings are issued for your area.
  • A WARNING means severe weather is happening in your area. Seek shelter, and get to a safe place

Know what to do when the power goes out:

  • If you are an electric member of The Energy Cooperative and you experience a power outage, be sure to report your outage by calling (800) 255-6815.
  • Visit our crisis management website at cmc.theenergycoop.com where you can find emergency alerts, outage updates, and tips for handling a power outage.