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Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program Accepting Applications 


The Ohio Emergency Management Agency (Ohio EMA) announced recently that its Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program is once again accepting applications. The program provides a rebate for the purchase and construction/installation of tornado safe rooms for Ohio homeowners. 

“The entire state of Ohio is at risk of an EF5 tornado, which produces 250 mile per hour winds capable of destroying most structures,” said Steve Ferryman, Ohio EMA mitigation branch chief. “A safe room is built to withstand these winds and resulting airborne debris and provides near absolute protection for occupants.” 

A safe room is an extreme-wind shelter or space that provides protection to people during a tornado. It can be constructed/installed in one of several places in the home: in the basement, beneath a concrete slab-on-grade foundation or garage floor, or in an interior room on the first floor. A safe room may also be buried in the yard or be a stand-alone structure near your home. 

Residents selected for the program are eligible for a rebate up to 75 percent of the cost to install or construct a safe room – up to a maximum of $5,250. Ohio homeowners would be responsible for 25 percent of the construction costs and any additional costs over the 75 percent maximum rebate of $5,250.

The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 10. Applications can be done online at https://ohiosharpp.ema.state.oh.us/SafeRoom2016/

According to Ohio EMA, the Ohio Safe Room Rebate Program will use a computerized random selection process to select applicants. A priority list of applicants will be created from the selected applicants. Chosen homeowners will be notified by email of their position on the priority list on or after Monday, February 15. Ohio EMA anticipates grant funding will become available this year and having a list of participants that meet program requirements will expedite the rebate process. To date, the rebate program has funded 127 safe rooms in Ohio. 

Funding for the rebate program is through a partnership with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant programs. 

Safe rooms must meet the requirements in FEMA publications 320 and 361, and cannot be constructed/installed prior to the rebate drawing and notification from Ohio EMA to proceed with construction. Ohio EMA plans to offer this rebate program on an annual basis. When and if HMA funding becomes available, the amount of funding will determine the number of rebates. 

For additional information on safe rooms or to view and download the FEMA publications, visit https://www.fema.gov/residential-safe-rooms




Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) Completed The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management (CCOEM) has become the first county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in Ohio, and the 26th local EMA in the nation, to achieve accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP).

“Accreditation demonstrates that Cuyahoga County continues to make public safety a priority," said George Taylor, Cuyahoga County Director of Public Safety and Justice Services.  "The Office of Emergency Management has devoted significant time and energy to ensuring that public safety agencies throughout the county are prepared for disaster or emergency. We are proud to be the first county-level emergency management agency in Ohio to be accredited."  
The two-year process required CCOEM to comply fully with 64 separate performance standards that cover all aspects of emergency management including planning, training, communications, operations, and administration. The capstone of the process was a week-long assessment visit by a team of EMAP assessors who painstakingly evaluated all aspects of the county's emergency management program. 

“Having gone through the EMAP accreditation process here at Ohio EMA, we recognize the significant effort it takes, as well as the tremendous benefits of going through this process," said Sima Merick, Executive Director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. This is a fantastic accomplishment and a testament to the work Cuyahoga County’s emergency managers do each and every day. 

Barb Graff, Director of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management and Chair of the EMAP Commission, added that accreditation demonstrates a community's "commitment and desire to prove to their communities that their safety is the priority."

Accreditation is valid for five years. CCOEM must maintain compliance with EMAP standards and be reassessed in 2020 to maintain accredited status. 

 

CCOEM staff with County Executive Armond Budish


Be a Force of Nature: Prepare and Stay Safe

On average, weather-related vehicle crashes kill 6,253 people and injure more than 480,000 each year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Most of these accidents occur when the roadways are wet, snowy, or icy. When the weather takes a turn for the worse this winter, take precautions if you have to be out on the roadways. Whether there is a coating of snow or ice on the roadways, or the asphalt just looks wet, SLOW DOWN! If the temperature is near freezing, drive like you’re on ice - you may be!

While dangerous road conditions are one of the most deadly hazards during winter, it’s not the only threat you may encounter. Other winter hazards include brutal cold, heavy snow and ice, dangerous flooding, extreme wind, and treacherous fog.

To stay safe this winter, here’s what you can do:

1. Know Your Risk -Check weather.gov every morning before you leave home to make sure you’re prepared for what the weather might bring.

2. Take Action!
  • Prepare for an emergency. Make an emergency supplies kit for your home and vehicle. Make sure you have 72 hours of food, water and other necessary supplies in your kits.
  • Make a family communications plan for emergencies so that everyone in your life knows how to stay in touch.
  • During a snow emergency, stay off the roads to allow emergency crews uninterrupted access to treat the roads, and if you must travel, allow extra time. Follow weather.gov to get the latest forecast information and expected conditions.
3. Be A Force of Nature- You’re an inspiration. Let people know that you have an emergency supplies kit and family communications plan - doing so will inspire others to action. Share your preparedness story on social media. Help the National Weather Service build a Weather-Ready Nation.

For more information, visit the National Weather Service's Winter Weather Safety page.




Winterize Your Home

Take a few minutes to make your home more disaster-resilient:
  1. Verify your carbon monoxide and smoke detector work. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing the equipment to ensure it’s functioning appropriately. Invest in new detectors if they’re near or past the manufacturer's recommended replacement age. 

  2. Have a professional inspect the chimney and any fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters) in your home to verify everything is working properly.

  3. If you’re using a fireplace, space heater, or wood stove, make sure that anything flammable is at least three feet away. Space heaters are particularly dangerous if used improperly. Make sure to use heaters that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory and always operate according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

  4. Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. Insulating pipes will help prevent them from freezing.

Find even more information and tips to better prepare your home for the winter months ahead at www.ready.gov/winter and www.usfa.fema.gov.