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Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead, But YOU Can

by Mark Christie , Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management Manager

By: Mark Christie, Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management Manager

September is National Preparedness Month (#NatlPrep) and this year’s theme is Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.

It’s important to focus on planning for a disaster because it’s something everyone can do – even if you don’t realize it.

Since 1965, seventeen (17) federal disaster declarations have been documented in Cuyahoga County. These were due to severe storms, high winds, blizzards, snow/winter storms, and flooding. Furthermore, depending on the type of disaster, residents may not have the opportunity to evacuate and find shelter elsewhere. Therefore, it’s important to have a plan in place to help protect yourself and your loved ones.

Here are some ways that you can plan for a disaster:

  • Be Informed. Did you know that you can never have too many ways of receiving important safety information? Cuyahoga County residents can take advantage of ReadyNotify – our free emergency notification system. Emergency messages can be delivered via cell phone, landline, fax, or sms/text message. Sign up for ReadyNotify by clicking here.
  • Make a Plan. Would you know what to do if you were separated from your family, or vice versa? If you needed to evacuate your home, where would you meet? These are important questions that families need answers to. By making a detailed plan, you can help make sure that everyone is on the same page. Check out FEMA’s “Family Emergency Communication Plan” worksheet by clicking here.
  • Build a Kit. During (or after) an emergency, you may need to survive for several days without access to electricity or a vehicle. By building a kit, you can have a collection of basic items (many you may already have in your home) available to help you survive. Basic supplies should include:
    • Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply for evacuation, 2-week supply for home)
    • Food: non-perishable, easy to prepare items (ex: beef jerky, fruit cups, power bars, applesauce, packaged nuts, etc.)
    • Extra Cash
    • Batteries
    • Cell Phone (w/ chargers)
    • Medications
    • First Aid Kit
    • Flashlight
    • Sanitation and Personal Hygiene Items
    • Personal Documents (Insurance policies, passports, birth certificates, etc.)

      For a complete list of items to include, click here.
  • Get Involved. Volunteer. Here within Cuyahoga County, we have a lot of different opportunities to get involved. These opportunities include:

National Preparedness Month reminds us of how important it is to prepare. Taking a few simple steps, such as building an emergency kit and developing a plan, can help Cuyahoga County citizens mitigate the consequences of disasters. Join us on September 23rd at the Cleveland Metroparks CanalWay Center for our free National Preparedness Month Event. From Noon to 3pm, residents can interact with safety professionals and hear presentations on the importance of being prepared. For complete details, see our flyer below:

Presendation Information

For additional information, visit Additionally, you can follow us on Facebook and Twitter (@CuyahogaOEM) for additional messages on National Preparedness Month and emergency preparedness.