Last month a tornado touched down in Brunswick. The news media reported that many of Brunswick’s citizens were concerned that there was no warning. This prompted some calls and emails to my office asking about Willoughby’s preparedness to handle a major emergency.
Emergency planning begins on the local level and Willoughby has its own Emergency Plan. However, it is possible that a major event could overwhelm our resources. In that case Willoughby is fortunate to be in Lake County, where emergency preparedness and planning took center stage many years ago when the Perry Nuclear Power Plant was built. It was at that time that an Emergency Operations Center was constructed in Mentor and the Lake County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) was established. As a result, Lake County is ahead of most of the country in terms of preparedness, training and equipment.
The siren system is an example of this. These sirens were activated last month when a tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service for our area. The sirens are meant to be heard if you are outdoors. If you hear the sirens you should go indoors and turn on your television or radio for instructions. The sirens can’t always be heard indoors, however. That is why the EMA also has the ability to send emergency warnings to your phone.
Land lines are automatically included in the EMA’s Reverse 911 System. This is not true of cell phones however. To get emergency warnings sent to your cell phone you will need to register with the EMA. You can do this by visiting http://arcgis.lakecountyohio.gov/R911Enroll/. I’d strongly recommend that you do this for yourself and all family members.
I’d also recommend that you visit the EMA’s web site at www.lakecountyohio.gov/ema/Home.aspx. You will be amazed at the information available on emergency planning and preparedness, including things you should do in your own home to be prepared for an emergency.
Certainly we all hope a major disaster never occurs in our area. If it does, however, you can rest assured that Willoughby’s and Lake County’s safety forces are prepared and trained for such an event.
Have a great month.