About Emergency Management
The Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management (MCOEM) is responsible for developing plans and programs that prepare Montgomery County and its communities to effectively prevent, respond to, and recover from catastrophic disasters.
Now is the Time to Prepare for Winter
Winter storms can range from a moderate snow over a few hours to a blizzard with blinding, wind-driven snow that lasts for several days. Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures and sometimes by strong winds, icing, sleet and freezing rain.
One of the primary concerns is the winter weather's ability to knock out heat, power and communications services to your home, sometimes for days at a time. If you lose your heat, consider staying with family or friends rather than relying on unsafe heating sources.
Remember to stay indoors as much as possible. Use layered clothing and blankets to stay warm. If you must be outside, dress in layers and avoid exposed skin. The frigid temperatures can produce frostbite quickly.
Understand that shoveling snow can easily cause overexertion. Watch for warning signs of a heart attack, including lightheadedness, dizziness, being short of breath or if you have tightness or burning in chest, neck, arms or back. If you think you are having a heart attack call 9-1-1.
Prepare your home for winter
- Cut and remove low-hanging and dead tree branches. Ice, snow and strong winds can cause tree limbs to break and fall.
- Have your gutters cleaned. Snow and ice can build up quickly if gutters are clogged with debris.
- DO NOT USE propane grills, charcoal grills or gas ovens for heating living spaces, even with an open door or window. These devices produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (a colorless and odorless poisonous gas) and can result in death.
- NEVER thaw frozen pipes with a torch or other open flame.
- Perform scheduled maintenance on auxiliary heaters, furnaces and fireplaces before using. A working carbon monoxide detector should be present in the living space.
- Space heaters, if used, should be placed three feet away from all objects that could catch fire. They should be turned off at night when unattended.
- Fireplaces should be used to heat the living space only if the flue and chimney have been inspected and are safe. Keep a screen or glass door unit over the opening of the fireplace to prevent embers from escaping. Dispose of ashes only in metal containers and move them well away from the outside of the house.
- Be very careful when using kerosene heaters. Remember to fuel the unit outside the house, keep combustible objects at least 3 feet away from the unit.
- If using a portable generator, read instructions thoroughly to guard against carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep them outside and away from windows, doors and vents with the exhaust pointing away from the home. Do not use them inside a garage, basement or partially enclosed area, no matter how well ventilated.
- It is best not to use extension cords with heat-producing appliances, but if you must, make sure it is rated for the same wattage as the appliance and only use one cord.
- Review your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Prepare winter disaster kits for the home and vehicle
Refresh stored nonperishable foods and bottled water. Change the batteries in your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and radios. Winter emergency kits should include warm clothing, blankets, flashlights, new batteries, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated or hand-cranked radio, first aid kit, and enough nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day) to sustain every family member for at least three days. Have stored food, bottled water and supplies for your pets, as well.
Personal preparedness means Get a Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed!
Get a Kit
Prepare a Disaster Supply Kit for you and your family. A spill of hazardous materials could mean instant evacuation from your home. A winter storm could confine you to your home for several days. Whether you are forced to remain indoors or forced to take shelter somewhere else, a disaster supply kit is one of the best ways to help your family cope.
Your kit should include:
- One gallon of water per person per day, for a minimum of three days. If you live alone you need a minimum of three gallons of water. A three-person household needs a minimum of nine. And don’t forget water for your pets.
- Store at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food for everyone in your family.
- Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables.
- Canned juices, milk, and soup.
- High energy foods like peanut butter, jelly, crackers, and granola bars.
- Comfort foods like cookies, instant coffee or sweetened cereals.
- Don’t forget to pack food for infants or the elderly who may have dietary restrictions.
- A manual can opener.
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert.
- Extra batteries. Remember to keep your batteries out of your equipment until you are ready to use it.
- A first aid kit.
- Whistle to signal for help.
- Dust mask.
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation.
- Local map.
- Small tools, including a wrench or pair of pliers to turn off utilities.
- Prescription information and a three-day supply of any medications that are being taken.
- Important family documents, such as copies of your insurance information, identification, and bank records kept in a waterproof portable container.
- Books, games, cards, puzzles or other small portable activities to help keep yourself and your children entertained.
Make a Plan
Planning ahead can be the most important step you take to prepare your family for disasters. You may not have time to decide what to do when a disaster strikes, so discuss with your family what actions you’ll take should the worst happen. Your family may not be together when a disaster strikes, so plan in advance: how does everyone get to a safe place? How will you contact one another? How will you get back together? And what steps do you take if different disasters strike? Plan on doing different drills like a fire or tornado drill at home, or practice having everyone call your out-of-town contacts to let each other know where you are. Use planning tools like this Family Emergency Plan Worksheet provided by ready.gov. Use the contact information at the bottom of this page to contact the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management for more planning information and tools.
Know what hazards can affect your area. Is your area more prone to hurricanes or earthquakes? Do you know how to shelter-in-place and what is the best location in your home to do so? What are the best sources of information in your community? Learn more about the different types of disasters that can affect you. Use resources, like the Natural Disasters page of ready.gov, and talk to your local American Red Cross about getting trained in CPR and First Aid.
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. During a tornado watch, review tornado safety plans and be prepared to move to a safe place if conditions worsen. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio (see below) or local television or radio newscasts for storm updates.
A tornado warning is issued by the NWS when a tornado has been detected by Doppler radar or sighted by storm spotters. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, do not stop to take pictures or shoot video. Seek safe shelter immediately. Continue to listen to your NOAA Weather Radio or TV or radio newscasts for up-to-date weather information.
Other tornado safety tips include:
- During tornado drills or actual tornado warning, DUCK!
- D - Go DOWN to the lowest level
- U - Get UNDER something (like a basement staircase or heavy table or desk)
- C - COVER your head
- K - KEEP in shelter until the storm has passed
- Be prepared for severe weather before a storm watch or warning is issued. Meet with household members to develop a disaster plan to respond to all hazards, including tornado watches and warnings. Conduct regular tornado drills.
- If you are a person with special needs, register your name and address with your local emergency management agency, police and/or fire departments before any natural or man-made disaster occurs.
- The NOAA Weather Radio has alerting tools available for people who are hearing impaired. Some weather radio receivers can be connected to an existing home security system, similar to a doorbell, smoke detector or other sensor. For additional information, visit the NWS NOAA Weather Radio page.
- The safest place to be during a tornado is a basement. If the building you are in has no basement or cellar, go to a small, centrally located room on the lowest level of the building, such as a bathroom or closet or interior hallway.
- If you are in a vehicle, trailer or mobile home, get out immediately and go to the lowest floor of a sturdy, nearby building or storm shelter. Mobile homes, even if tied down, offer little or no protection from tornadoes.
- If you are outside with no shelter, lie in a nearby ditch or depression and cover your head with your hands. Do not seek shelter under a highway overpass or bridge. You will be exposed to stronger winds and flying debris.
Invest in a NOAA Public Alert/Weather Radio
Every home, school and business should have a tone-alert weather radio with a battery back-up. Weather and public alert radios are programmed to automatically sound an alert during public safety and severe weather events. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Weather Radios are one of the most effective means for you to receive timely warnings of severe weather events. For full details of this program check out the Wilmington National Weather Service Office site. The local NOAA broadcast frequency is 162.475 MHz (WXJ-46).
If you have a radio capable of Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME), the SAME code for Montgomery County is 039113. Click here for more information on the SAME system.
2019 Mitigation Plan Update
The Montgomery County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan is a stand-alone plan that identifies priorities and projects designed to reduce the impact of disasters on communities. By maintaining a current hazard mitigation plan the County and local jurisdictions are eligible for federal mitigation funds as they become available. In order to complete this process we are asking the public to provide comment on the 2014 Montgomery County Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan (link provided in Highlights box above), and any changes they would like to see as we begin work on the 2019 Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan. Citizens may direct their comments regarding revisions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn about Flood Safety, how to find out if your home is at risk, and Flood Insurance at the National Weather Service's Flood Safety web site.
Jeff Jordan, Director
Phone: (937) 224-8934 117 South Main St, Suite 721
Fax: (937) 224-8881 Dayton, OH 45422