Winter Safety Awareness Week is November 17-23

Columbus, OH – A cold front this week, combined with Winter Safety Awareness Week, which starts Sunday, serves as a reminder for all Ohioans to take steps to be better prepared for winter before it’s too late.

In a coordinated effort, Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) recognize November 17-23 as Winter Safety Awareness Week.
“Winter Safety Awareness Week is a good time to restock our emergency supply kits and prepare our homes and vehicles for the upcoming winter months,” said Gov. DeWine. “It’s also a good time to update safety plans, practice those plans – such as home fire drills – and to prepare for winter-related incidents.”

According to the annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Winter Outlook, warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast for much of the United States this winter. No part of the country is favored to have below-average temperatures this winter. Neither El Niño nor La Niña will have an influence on winter, which extends from December through February.

No matter the forecast, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) encourages Ohioans to plan and prepare for the winter season and its hazards.
“Ohio winters are more than frigid temperatures, snow and ice,” said Ohio EMA Executive Director Sima Merick. “An EF1 tornado touched down in Trumbull County on January 8; and Clark County had an EF0 tornado on February 7. Also, most of Ohio was inundated with heavy rains, severe storms and landslides, which resulted in a total of 21 southern Ohio counties receiving a federal disaster declaration, very similar to February of 2018. So, during this week, check your homeowners or renters insurance. Consider purchasing flood insurance. Know what to do if the power goes out. Prepare now, before winter sets in.”
OCSWA recommends the following winter preparedness tips:
Practice fire safety and prevention. With winter months and the holiday season, people are indoors more, and cook, decorate and entertain more – which unfortunately, can lead to more home fires. The best protection is to have working smoke detectors in the home. Test your smoke detectors monthly. Conduct fire drills. Change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors twice a year – when you change your clocks, change your batteries. Have auxiliary heaters, furnaces and fireplaces checked or serviced before using. Cooking-related fires are the number one cause of home fires. Never leave cooking food unattended. Keep towels, potholders, and paper products away from the stove’s heat sources.

Prepare your home for winter. Remove and cut away low-hanging and dead tree branches. Strong winds, ice and snow can cause tree limbs to break and could cause damage to your home. Have your gutters cleaned. Snow and ice can build up quickly if clogged with debris.

Prepare winter emergency supplies kits for the home and vehicle. Check the expiration dates on nonperishable food items, bottled water/beverages and medications. Winter emergency kits should include flashlights, extra batteries, blankets, coats, hats, gloves, a battery-operated radio/weather radio, first aid kit, cell phone and charger, and enough nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day) to sustain every household member for several days. Store food, bottled water and supplies for your pets, as well.

Check on your neighbors. After severe weather or during prolonged power outages, check on your neighbors and family members – particularly those who are older or have functional needs – to ensure that they are safe, healthy, and warm. Your emergency or communications plan might include ensuring your neighbors have emergency supplies, and exchanging phone numbers to call or text during times of need.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors. This concept empowers community leaders to involve the people in their communities and teach them they can take to become more prepared, and more resilient, if a severe weather incident were to occur. Approximately 46% of individuals rely a great deal on their neighbors for assistance during the first 72 hours after a disaster.

2019-2020 Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest
Also, as part of Winter Safety Awareness Week, OCSWA announces that Ohio students in grades 1-6, including individualized instruction classes, can draw and enter posters in its annual Severe Weather Awareness Poster Contest. Students have from now until mid-April to work on their posters that illustrate how people can protect themselves and others from the dangers and hazards that accompany severe weather in Ohio. Click here for entry rules and information.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness is comprised of 16 local, state, and federal agencies and organizations. For additional information on winter weather safety and severe weather preparedness, visit OCSWA’s website:

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Nov 15, 2019 8:05 am

Local Tower Improvements Will Improve Emergency Communications

Local Tower Improvements Will Improve Emergency Communications

A collaboration between two local businesses and a group of licensed local amateur radio operators recently assisted the Highland County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to add an additional tower section to an existing tower, install a new antenna feedline and place a new dual band radio amateur radio antenna to improve communications. EMA Director David Bushelman advised that these upgrades will result in better coverage to all areas of the county, even with low powered hand-held radios in the hilly areas.
Highland Amateur Radio Association Information Officer John Levo advised that too often natural disasters and/or emergencies render cell, telephone, broadcast and the Internet to either overload or fail due to infrastructure, equipment or other communication related issues. In such cases, the Federal Communications Commission requests amateurs to offer their services and personal equipment to local and state governmental agencies to provide much needed communication assistance when they safely can do so.
Tom Archibald is a federally licensed amateur radio operator and serves as the county’s assistant amateur radio emergency coordinator, as well as, recently appointed to the Local Emergency Planning Committee. Archibald stated that the State of Ohio strongly urges local governments to reach out to the amateur radio community and develop relationships where local amateurs to provide advanced communications and support to local agencies in the event of a local, regional or national disaster or emergency. In some areas of Ohio these units become certified by the Amateur Radio Emergency Services network of amateur radio operators. FEMA provides amateurs with classes to become familiar with government radio operating procedures so that ‘hams’ and government officials “are speaking the same language”.
County Emergency Coordinator Harley Mains commented once another antenna is installed prior to winter, this simple wire antenna will not only provide hams with communications directly into the suburban Columbus State Emergency Center, but it will serve as a gateway to various FEMA, military, National Weather Service and other federal agency and civilian response centers around the United States.
Besides thanking the amateurs who assisted, Director Bushelman would like to thank Barry Stratton and Bruce Davis of S and S Electrical Contractors for the tower and ground support work, Amateur radio operator Chris Campton for assisting with the on-tower antenna installation and Chad Abbott Signs for providing the truck and equipment to lift and position the new tower section and antenna to the tower top. This project would not have been possible without everyone’s donating their time, services and equipment.
Additional information about the Highland County Emergency Management Agency may be obtained by contacting Director Bushelman at or calling 937-393-5880.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Sep 24, 2019 9:10 am

September is National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month (NPM) is recognized annually in September to promote family and community disaster and emergency planning now, and throughout the year. NPM is designed to raise awareness and encourage people to prepare themselves for emergencies that could impact their homes, jobs, schools, and communities. Go to Ready.Ohio for more info

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Aug 26, 2019 10:02 am

Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 23-29

Summertime is Peak Time for Thunder and Lightning Storms
Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 23-29

In an annual coordinated effort with the National Weather Service (NWS), the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness is promoting June 23-29 as National Lightning Safety Awareness Week and encourages all Ohioans to know what to do before, during and after thunderstorms, and to practice severe weather safety and preparedness throughout the summer.

Although lightning strikes can occur at any time during the year, summertime is usually peak season for thunder and lightning storms. Since the inception of Lightning Safety Awareness Week, lightning fatalities in the U.S. have dropped from about 50 per year to an average of 30 or less per year. The NWS attributes this reduction to this weather safety campaign and to a greater awareness of lightning danger, and people seeking safe shelter when thunderstorms threaten.

As of Friday June 14, four people have died after being struck by lightning in the United States this year. In 2018, there were 20 lightning fatalities in a total of 10 states; no fatalities in Ohio (NWS 2019 Lightning Fatalities).

There is no safe place outside when thunderstorms are in the area. If you hear thunder, you are likely within striking distance of the storm. Lightning safety is can save your life.

“When thunder roars, go indoors!” Stop outdoor activities and seek safe shelter immediately.
The NWS and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness encourage Ohioans to prepare for thunder and lightning storms – and all severe weather events.
Thunder & Lightning Safety Information:

• Listen to current weather reports on local TV or radio stations, or use a battery-operated NOAA Weather Radio. Be aware of changing weather conditions. Severe thunderstorms can produce hail, damaging winds and/or tornadoes.
• There is no safe place outside during a thunderstorm.
• If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike.
• When you hear thunder, move to safe shelter immediately, such as a substantial building with electricity and/or plumbing, or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with the windows rolled up.
• Stay inside a safe building or vehicle for at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.
Indoor Lightning Safety Tips:
• Stay off corded phones, computers and other electrical equipment that could put you in direct contact with electricity.
• Avoid plumbing, including sinks, baths and faucets.
• Stay away from windows and doors, and stay off porches.
• Do not lie on concrete floors. Do not lean against concrete walls.
Outdoor Risk-Reduction Tips:
• Do not stay on elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks.
• Never lie flat on the ground.
• Never shelter under an isolated tree.
• Do not use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter.
• Avoid being in or near bodies of water such as beaches, swimming pools, ponds or lakes.
• Avoid contact with anything metal – tractors, farm equipment, motorcycles, wire fences, golf carts, golf clubs, bicycles, etc.
• If driving during a severe thunderstorm, try to safely exit the roadway and park. Stay in the vehicle and turn on the emergency hazard lights until the heavy rain stops. Avoid flooded roadways and bridges – Turn Around Don’t Drown®. Just 12 inches of moving water can sweep away most vehicles.

To minimize the risk of being struck by lightning, just remember “When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!” and stay indoors until at least 30 minutes after the last sound of thunder or crack of lightning.
For additional information on lightning safety, visit the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, ReadyOhio, or the NWS site at

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Jun 24, 2019 7:52 am

Ohio tornado damage

National Weather Service storm survey teams continued assessing Ohio tornado damage through the weekend. On May 30, the NWS upgraded the EF3 tornado in Trotwood, Ohio to an EF4. By June 1, the NWS determined that 21 tornadoes ripped through the state of Ohio in a five-hour period, late night May 27 through early morning May 28. Fourteen tornadoes impacted the Miami Valley area. Confirmed Ohio tornadoes:

EF4 – Trotwood, Montgomery Co
EF3 – Beavercreek, Greene Co
EF3 – Celina, Mercer Co
EF2 – S of Vandalia, Montgomery Co
EF2 – near Laurelville, Hocking Co
EF2 – near West Milton, Miami Co
EF2 – NE of Jamestown, Greene Co
EF1 – S of Tarlton, Pickaway Co
EF1 – Roseville, Perry Co
EF1 – New Madison, Darke Co
EF1 – W of Wapakoneta, Auglaize Co
EF1 – Jamestown, Greene Co
EF1 – S of Hollandsburg, Darke Co
EF0 – near Phillipsburg, Miami/Montgomery Cos
EF0 – SE of Circleville, Pickaway Co
EF0 – between Belle Center & Kenton, Hardin Co
EF0 – Waynesfield, Auglaize Co
EF0 – NW of Zaleski, Vinton Co
EF0 – S of Troy, Miami Co
EF0 – Elizabeth Twp, Miami Co
EF0 – Uniopolis, Auglaize Co

Officials continue to emphasize that individuals should not self-deploy.

Montgomery County Volunteer Reception Center: Sinclair Community College, Dayton OH

Miami County Volunteer Reception Center: Concord Township Trustees Building, Troy OH

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Jun 4, 2019 11:19 am

Highland County All Hazard Mitigation Plan Public Meeting

The Highland County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is conducting a five (5) year update to the Highland County All Hazard Mitigation Plan. These Plans are intended to identify hazards that pose a genuine risk to property and life, and to identify solutions which will mitigate the impacts of natural disasters (flooding, high winds, severe winter or summer storms, earthquakes etc.) For a County, or any of its’ local jurisdictions, to qualify for any federal mitigation assistance, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) requires communities to update their Hazard Mitigation Plans every five (5) years. Highland County will be holding a public hearing to review their revised draft Hazard Mitigation Plan on May 6, 2019 beginning at 2:00pm at Highland Co. Admin Bldg., 119 Foraker Pl, Hillsboro OH. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. The draft report is available to view at For more information, contact Dave Bushelman, EMA Director at or at (937) 393-5880.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Apr 15, 2019 3:28 pm

Remembering the Xenia tornado!

All it took was four minutes 45 years ago Wednesday to change the landscape and the lives of the residents of Xenia when a killer tornado roared through its Arrowhead subdivision and downtown area, eventually killing 33 people and injuring another 1,300 in its more than one-mile wide path.
David Bushelman, director of the Highland County Emergency Management Agency, told The Times-Gazette that he really doesn’t have any clear memories of that day since he was only 9 years old at the time, but did say Highland County is better prepared to deal with an F-5 Xenia-class tornado today than it would’ve been the afternoon of April 3, 1974.
“Our communications systems are better, our infrastructure, as far as handling major disasters like that in the state as a whole, are geared to rapid response,” Bushelman said. “Combine that with the upgrades and improvements with the weather service and I’d say from an emergency management standpoint, we’re more than ready for a tornado of that sort.”
Major weather events such as the Great Flood of 1937, the Thanksgiving Blizzard of 1950, the freezing of the Ohio River in 1977 and the legendary blizzard of 1978 leave an indelible mark on those that went through them, and according to the National Weather Service, the tornado that devastated Xenia was no different.
A series of violent tornadoes now referred to as the “Super Outbreak,” tore a path of death and destruction through Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky, and the National Weather Service said it documented 148 tornadoes in 13 states in the eastern United States that day alone. But the most deadly was the F-5 funnel cloud that descended suddenly upon Greene County.
“When severe weather like that starts creeping in, my office goes into the assessment and monitoring stage,” Bushelman said. “We start making preparations to make sure everything is up and running, and stay in close contact with other county EMA directors and the National Weather Service.”
He said his office’s main objective during a crisis situation, be it storm-related, man-made or natural disaster, is to prepare, respond, recover and mitigate. In other words, anticipate what could happen, respond accordingly, and then coordinate aid and assistance in the aftermath.
Kristen Cassady, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Wilmington, said that even today in the weather community, the April 1974 super outbreak is looked upon with awe, and is often compared with a similar outbreak that occurred in the Deep South on April 27, 2011.
“Those violent tornados that day thankfully didn’t quite reach up here,” she said. “That’s the only other day that rivals the April 1974 outbreak. In fact, there were tornado watches that day in 2011 that stretched from upstate New York all the way down to the Gulf Coast.”
She said one of the things that enables the weather service to better forecast severe weather is the advances in radar technology, which is superior to what existed in 1974, such as next generation Doppler radio deployed at major airports that allows detection of low altitude storm activity. She said it can show the presence of a tornado before it even touches the ground.
“What was in use back then we referred to as WSR-57 radar, which meant ‘weather service radar’ and the year it came out, which was 1957. Later on we had the WSR-74s,” Cassady said. “That was replaced with the WSR-88D, which included Doppler radar and the subsequent upgrades to give us the forecasting capabilities we enjoy today.”
She said communities are more safe today than they were 45 years ago not only due to advances in technology like Doppler radar and computer generated imaging, but also because meteorologists have a better understanding of how weather systems evolve.
“When the storm prediction center issues a thunderstorm outlook across the entire country, today we not only have several hours warning, but also several days that the environment could spawn these tornadic outbreaks,” she said. “Being able to provide that heightened awareness is crucial so now people aren’t just planning for the day of, but can now make plans several days before.”
The faces and the names of the victims of the Xenia tornado have faded from memory over time, but statistics tell their story, according to “Tornado at Xenia,” a tribute publication from 1974 that was sold to benefit recovery efforts.
Of the deaths in Xenia, 12 were children under the age of 16, with the youngest victim being a 4-week-old boy, the oldest an 82-year-old woman, and two were airmen from the Ohio Air National Guard.
In the four short minutes the twister was on the ground in Xenia, the publication noted, 18 of the victims were found in or near piles of rubble where their homes once stood, nine died at their places of employment and five others were killed while enjoying a late afternoon meal at a local restaurant.

Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571 at Times Gazette

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Apr 5, 2019 10:44 am

2019 Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 17-23

Severe Weather Awareness Week is an ideal time to plan and get ready for spring and summer weather hazards that can impact Ohio.

Be Informed. Know Ohio’s spring and summer weather hazards and how to protect your family and home.
Tornado Safety
Flood Safety
Thunder & Lightning Safety
Extreme Heat

Build a Disaster Supplies Kit. Have enough food, water and other supplies to sustain your household for at least three days.

Plan Ahead for Severe Weather.
Know how to receive emergency alerts
Have a shelter-in-place plan
Know evacuation routes
Make a family/household communication plan

Also visit:

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Mar 11, 2019 12:34 pm

What is Frostbite?

What is Frostbite?

You have frostbite when your body tissue freezes. The most susceptible parts of the body are fingers, toes, ear lobes, or the tip of the nose. Symptoms include a loss of feeling in the extremity and a white or pale appearance. Get medical attention immediately for frostbite. The area should be SLOWLY rewarmed using warm, not hot water.

Frostbite First Aid

Get indoors as quickly as possible. Until you can get indoors:
• Don't rub or massage cold body parts.
• Put your hands in your armpits.
• Hold onto another person or animal.
• Drink warm liquids.
• Put on extra layers of clothes, blankets, etc.
• Remove rings, watches and anything other tight jewelry or related items.

Once indoors:
• Don't walk on a frostbitten foot. You could cause more damage.
• Get in a warm, NOT hot, bath and wrap your face and ears in a moist, warm, NOT hot, towel.
• Don't get near a hot stove or heater or use a heating pad, hot water bottle, or a hair dryer. You may burn yourself before feeling returns.
• Frostbitten skin will become red and swollen and feel like it's on fire. You may develop blisters. Don't break the blisters. It could cause scarring and infection.
• If your skin turns blue or gray, is very swollen, blistered or feels hard and numb even under the surface, go to a hospital as soon as possible.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Jan 29, 2019 2:18 pm

HCSO to resume issuing snow emergency levels

For the first time in several years, the Highland County Sheriff’s Office released a snow advisory last weekend, and Sheriff Donnie Barrera said he plans to continue the practice in cases of inclement weather throughout the winter.

“I’ve been contemplating it since I’ve been in office,” Barrera said Monday. “The Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association changed some wording with snow emergency levels that alleviates some of the pressure from us. Employees are now responsible for calling their employer.”

The sheriff said that in the past, people sometimes used an emergency declaration as a reason not to report to work, or would ask the sheriff’s office to call their employer, clogging up the sheriff’s office phone lines. He said that’s why former Sheriff Ron Ward decided to stop the practice several years ago.

There will be three emergency levels, with level three being the most serious. Each of the levels is described below:

• Level One — A snow alert declaration by the county sheriff is designed to advise motorists of hazardous conditions created by ice and blowing and drifting snow. No roadways are closed, although unnecessary travel is discouraged, but if deemed necessary, extreme caution is urged. Generally, snow is accumulating on the roadway with dropping temperatures that may create dangerous road surfaces.

• Level Two — A snow advisory declaration is a Level Two classification advising motorists that all or certain roadways in the county are hazardous with icy spots and blowing and drifting snow causing low visibility. Only persons who deem it necessary to travel should be on the roadways. The county sheriff urges extreme caution. Employees should contact their employer to determine if they should report to work.

• Level Three — A snow emergency is declared when ice and blowing and drifting snow have created extremely hazardous road conditions. Low visibility, extremely low temperatures, and worsening road conditions have caused the closing of all or certain county roadways to all but emergency and essential persons. No one should be on the roadways unless absolutely necessary. Employees should contact their employers to see if they should report to work. All non-emergency and non-essential personnel traveling the roadways during a Level Three snow emergency may be subject to prosecution under Ohio Revised Code section 2917.13 for misconduct at an emergency.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Jan 20, 2019 7:41 am

Updated: Jan 22, 2019 8:02 am

Be Ready for 2019

Bring in the New Year by making emergency preparedness a resolution. If we resolve to be ready then we would be prepared for emergencies and potential disasters.
Are You Ready, Ohio? Here's a list to help you get started:

Make an emergency plan. Choose a safe place to meet up with family members. Update your family communication plan - include an out-of-town contact. Learn evacuation routes.

Update the supplies in your disaster supply kits. Remember to include cash.

Get to know your neighbors and invite them to be a part of your emergency plan.

Set up group text lists so that you can communicate with family & friends during emergencies.

Snap photos of important documents and save them in a secure place or online.

Snap photos of your property for insurance purposes.

Check your insurance coverage for disasters like floods, tornadoes, ice and hail storms.

Take a class in CPR and first aid. American Red Cross

Have back-up power sources available to charge phones & devices in case of a power outage.

Download a weather app to receive severe storm alerts and warnings.

Take a photo of you and your pet together, in case you get separated during a disaster. Consider microchipping your pet.

Build up your savings. Grow an emergency fund: put a small amount (perhaps an extra $10) in your account once or twice a month, beginning in January.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Dec 31, 2018 7:44 am

CodeRED Mobile Alert App

Highland County to Use CodeRED Mobile Alert App to Deliver Emergency Notifications

The Highland County Emergency Management Agency, through an existing contract with OnSolve LLC, will begin January 1, 2019 delivering public safety alerts through the company’s public safety app of choice, the CodeRED Mobile Alert.

The app, which is a free download on the App Store and Google Play, will allow Highland County residents and visitors to receive free emergency, missing person and community alerts via push notifications directly to their iPhone and Android devices. David Bushelman, EMA Director, said the new platform will serve as an additional tool to help inform the community and visitors about important information that may impact their safety. If you have the app downloaded and are in an affected area of the alert, a notification will be sent through the app to alert you of the issue,” Bushelman said.

Residents who have enrolled for the CodeRED system will continue to receive voice calls, text messages and emails. However, the app is designed to keep users safe and informed while on the go. “The app is unique because, for example, if we have a Highland County resident who is traveling to another state that also uses the CodeRED system; they will receive any community or emergency alerts from that specific area while there. It’s just one additional means to stay safe when you’re away from home,” Bushelman said.

In addition to the emergency, community and missing children alerts which are always free to app users, the app also offers subscribers a free, 30-day trial of CodeRED Weather Warning, which alerts users if they are in the direct path of a severe thunderstorm, tornado or flash flood. Users have the ability to select the types of weather notifications they want and to customize the app based on their unique preferences. “With the added weather component, you don’t have to be worried about missing a tornado siren or watching a weather report. The app will alert you immediately after the National Weather Service issues a severe weather warning, no matter the time of day,” Bushelman said.

Residents are encouraged to download the app to begin receiving notifications from Highland County immediately. The app is available for a free download on the App Store and Google Play.

For more information or to download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app, visit

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Dec 10, 2018 8:43 am

Winter Weather

Would you know how to protect yourself, family from a severe winter storm that could consist of blizzard conditions, ice storms or prolonged sub-zero temperatures?

Know the Terms.

A winter storm watch means conditions exist for a severe winter storm to develop. A winter storm watch alerts the public to the potential for heavy snow, significant icing or a combination of these events. Winter storm watches are issued 12 to 48 hours before the beginning of a winter storm. Prepare for the weather event in case conditions worsen. Listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local television or radio news station for up-to-date weather information.

A winter storm warning is issued by the National Weather Service when heavy snow or a combination of heavy accumulation of snow, freezing rain, heavy sleet or blowing and drifting snow is expected to occur in your area. Continue to listen to a NOAA Weather Radio or local television or radio news station for up-to-date weather information, including school and business delays/closures.

Make a kit. Ensure you have enough supplies for every member of your family to survive on for at least three days. Include winter-specific items such as rock salt to melt ice on walkways, sand to improve traction, snow shovels and other snow removal equipment. Keep a stock of food, extra drinking water, warm clothing, blankets or sleeping bags on hand, as well. Click here for a more complete disaster supplies kit checklist.

Prepare for possible isolation in your home. If your main source of heat is a propane tank, ensure it has fuel before winter sets in. Store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood if you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Store extra blankets, coats, sweaters, etc. in your family preparedness kit. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand, and ensure that everyone knows how to use it.

Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply. Insulate walls and attics. Caulk and weather-strip windows and doors. Install storm windows or cover windows with plastic.

Listen to weather reports for up-to-date weather information. Invest in a tone-alert NOAA Weather Radio or listen to weather reports from local news stations, cable weather stations or radio.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Oct 24, 2018 7:33 am

First-ever National WEA Test

First-ever National WEA Test

IPAWS National Test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS)

The National EAS and WEA test will be held today, beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) and Emergency Alert System (EAS) today. The WEA portion of the test commences at 2:18 p.m. EDT, and the EAS portion follows at 2:20 p.m. EDT. The test will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message and determine whether improvements are needed.

The WEA test message will be sent to cell phones that are connected to wireless providers participating in WEA. This is the fourth EAS nationwide test and the first national WEA test. Previous EAS national tests were conducted in November 2011, September 2016, and September 2017 in collaboration with the FCC, broadcasters, and emergency management officials in recognition of FEMA’s National Preparedness Month.

Cell towers will broadcast the WEA test for approximately 30 minutes beginning at 2:18 p.m. EDT. During this time, WEA compatible cell phones that are switched on, within range of an active cell tower, and whose wireless provider participates in WEA should be capable of receiving the test message. Some cell phones will not receive the test message, and cell phones should only receive the message once. The WEA test message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" and text that says:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed.”

The WEA system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children, and other critical situations through alerts on cell phones. The national test will use the same special tone and vibration as with all WEA messages (i.e. Tornado Warning, AMBER Alert). Users cannot opt out of receiving the WEA test.

The EAS is a national public warning system that provides the President with the communications capability to address the nation during a national emergency. The test is made available to EAS participants (i.e., radio and television broadcasters, cable systems, satellite radio and television providers, and wireline video providers) and is scheduled to last approximately one minute. The test message will be similar to regular monthly EAS test messages with which the public is familiar. The EAS message will include a reference to the WEA test:

“THIS IS A TEST of the National Emergency Alert System. This system was developed by broadcast and cable operators in voluntary cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Federal Communications Commission, and local authorities to keep you informed in the event of an emergency. If this had been an actual emergency an official message would have followed the tone alert you heard at the start of this message. A similar wireless emergency alert test message has been sent to all cell phones nationwide. Some cell phones will receive the message; others will not. No action is required.”

The test was originally planned for September 20, 2018 but has been postponed until October 3, 2018 due to ongoing response efforts to Hurricane Florence.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Oct 3, 2018 7:55 am

September is National Preparedness Month

National Preparedness Month (NPM), recognized each September, is designed to raise awareness and encourage everyone to prepare themselves for emergencies that could impact their homes, jobs, schools, and communities. NPM 2018 will focus on planning. Its overarching theme is: Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.

Organize or update your disaster supply kits for your home and vehicles.
Take time to learn life-saving skills. Install smoke, carbon monoxide and natural gas detectors in your home and text them monthly. Know how to turn off utilities, like water and gas. Learn CPR and first aid.
Check your insurance policies and coverage for the hazards that might impact your home or community, such as flooding, tornadoes or home fires.
Consider the costs associated with disasters. Consider saving money in an emergency savings account that could be used in any crisis. Keep a small amount of cash at home. ATMs and credit cards may not work after a disaster when you may need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
Last year’s devastating hurricanes and this year’s wildfires remind the nation of the importance of preparing for disasters. Households and communities need to be ready, because in the event of a large-scale disaster, it may take days before first responders are able to get to you. So, it is important to be prepared and self-sustaining so that you can help yourself, your family and others in your community.

Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.
Week 1: Sept 1-8 Make and Practice Your Plan
Week 2: Sept 9-15 Learn Life-Saving Skills
Week 3: Sept 16-22 Check Your Insurance Coverage
Week 4: Sept 23-29 Save for an Emergency

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Aug 27, 2018 8:33 am

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 17-23

National Lightning Safety Awareness Week is June 17-23

Most lightning-strike deaths and injuries occur when people are caught outdoors during the afternoons or evenings of summer months. To minimize the risk of being struck by lightning, seek indoor shelter in a safe and sturdy building. Wait 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder before going back outside. for more info.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: May 31, 2018 2:16 pm

Severe Weather Awareness Week is March 18-24

Be prepared for all weather hazards during Ohio's Severe Weather Awareness Week

Be Informed. Know the different spring & summer weather hazards that can impact your community.

Build a Disaster Supplies Kit. Have enough food, water and other supplies to sustain your household for at least 3 days.
Plan Ahead for Severe Weather.
Know how to receive emergency alerts.
Have a shelter plan.
Know evacuation routes.
Make a family/household communication plan.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Mar 19, 2018 7:29 am

A Flood Warning means Take Action!

Move to higher ground immediately.
Use extra caution if driving.

Never drive through flooded roadways. Turn Around. Don’t Drown.

Listen to your local TV or radio stations for weather forecasts and updates.

Listen to public safety and emergency management officials for safety and evacuation information.

Author: D. Bushelman - Director
Posted: Feb 22, 2018 7:32 am

Cooler Temps Mean Winter Isn’t Far Away

With temperatures falling, we know that winter – with the snow, ice and freezing rain – is not that far away. Plan ahead! Now is a good time to start winterizing your vehicle.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) and its partners suggest the additional tips to prepare your vehicle for the winter months:

Install winter wipers
Mount winter tires
Keep washer fluid full
Pack a winter safety kit
Service your vehicle regularly
Maintain proper tire pressure
Keep the gas tank at least half full
Clean all debris from your vehicle
Keep your rear-window defroster in working order

Get a tune-up, to include an oil change and battery checked,

Check your headlights, tail lights and turn signals. Replace foggy, hazy or damaged lens covers to improve visibility.

Check the exhaust – Replace or repair leaks and crimped pipes.

Prepare/replenish winter emergency kits for your vehicles.

Winter Safety Awareness Week is November 12-18

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Oct 26, 2017 9:34 am

Get Involved! Be a Part of Something Larger

There are many ways to get involved – especially before a disaster occurs. Community leaders agree: the formula for ensuring a safer homeland consists of trained volunteers and informed individuals taking action to increase the support of emergency response agencies during disasters.

Especially after the recent disasters of hurricanes and earthquakes, you can receive training in your community now, so that you can be prepared to volunteer and serve in your country.

How can you get started? Contact any of the following:

County EMA Offices
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) / Ohio CERT
Ohio Citizen Corps
Local American Red Cross Chapters
Volunteer Fire Departments
Ohio VOAD Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters
Get Involved!Visit

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Sep 25, 2017 7:55 am

Make a Plan for Yourself, Family & Friends

Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it’s important to know how you’ll contact each other and reconnect, if separated.

Put together an emergency plan by discussing these questions with your family, friends or household:

1. How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
2. What is my family/household communication plan?
3. What is my shelter plan?
4. What is my evacuation route?

Consider specific needs in your household. Taylor your plans and supplies to our specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets, or specific needs, like the operation of durable medical equipment. Visit

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Sep 3, 2017 10:38 am

Heat Safety Tips for Pets

Heat Safety Tips from the ASPCAa and National Weather Service:

Pets can get dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of fresh, clean water when it’s hot or humid outdoors. Make sure your pets have a shady place to get out of the sun. Be careful not to over-exercise them. And keep them indoors when it’s extremely hot.

Know the symptoms of overheating in pets, which include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, increased heart and respiratory rate, drooling, mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse. Animals can suffer from heat stroke. Be mindful of those symptoms, as well.

Animals with flat faces, like Pugs and Persian cats, are more susceptible to heat stroke since they cannot pant as effectively. These pets, along with people who are elderly or overweight or have heart or lung diseases, should be kept cool in air-conditioned rooms as much as possible.

NEVER leave children, disabled adults or pets in a parked vehicle. Every year, dozens of children and untold numbers of pets left in parked vehicles die from hyperthermia, which occurs when the body absorbs more heat than it can handle. A parked car can go from a safe temperature to dangerously high in just over two minutes. - Pets
Red Cross - Pet Preparedness

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Jul 10, 2017 10:04 am

Basic Flood Safety Tips

Basic Flood Safety Tips
 Turn Around, Don’t Drown!® - If you are driving and have come to a flooded area, turn around and
go the other way. Many deaths have resulted from attempts to drive (or walk) through flooded
 Just 6 inches of moving water can knock over an adult. And 2 feet of rushing water can carry away
most vehicles, including SUVs and pickup trucks.
 If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground. Flash floods are the #1
cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S.
 If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to
higher ground. If the water is moving, do not leave your car.
 Avoid camping or parking along streams, rivers and creeks during heavy rainfall. These areas can
flood quickly and with little warning.

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Mar 20, 2017 8:45 am

Know the Weather Terms

Know the Weather Terms – Ensure that every member in the household knows the difference between a tornado watch and a tornado warning. A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes. A tornado warning is issued when a tornado is imminent or occurring. If a tornado warning is issued for your area, do not stop to take photos or shoot video. Seek safe shelter immediately.

During tornado drills or actual tornado warnings, remember to DUCK!
D – Go DOWN to the lowest level, stay away from windows
U – Get UNDER something (such as a basement staircase or heavy table or desk)
C – COVER your head
K – KEEP in shelter until the storm has passed

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Mar 20, 2017 8:44 am

National Weather Service confirms 3 tornadoes in Highland County

As of 10:30 p.m. Thursday night, the National Weather Service has confirmed three tornadoes touched down in Highland County on Wednesday morning.

Two of the tornadoes, one near Leesburg and one near Greenfield, were classified EF0 (wind speeds 65-85 miles per hour), while one later Wednesday morning near New Market was an EF1 (wind speeds 86-110 miles per hour).

According to the NWS, the first tornado touched down south of Leesburg around 2:31 a.m. Wednesday and lasted until approximately 2:39 a.m. The tornado’s path was 250 yards wide and seven miles long, and its maximum wind speed was 85 miles per hour.

The following information was posted by the NWS about the Leesburg tornado:

Damage was first observed at a farm residence on the north side of Larkin Road, where one tree was downed and a barn was destroyed. Northeast of there, some minor tree damage was seen on state Route 72 and along tree lines in adjacent fields.

Structural damage occurred at a property on US Route 62 near the intersection with Old US 62, with several outbuildings destroyed or heavily damaged. The house at this location had minor damage, mainly to roofing materials, with shingles removed on multiple sides. One large evergreen tree was uprooted, and other trees were snapped. At another property slightly northeast on US Route 62, a garage was destroyed, and numerous trees behind the garage were snapped.

On Leaverton Road, a barn was partially collapsed. Two evergreen trees were snapped, and other tree damage was observed both at this location and across the field to the east. Slightly south of this location, also on Leaverton Road, several trees were downed along a low spot on the road, and a fence was blown flat. Minor tree damage was also observed where the tornado crossed Smith Road, and a garage door was blown in at a residence on State Route 771, with some trees snapped in the vicinity. A few trees were also damaged where the tornado crossed Monroe Road.

Tree damage was observed to be significant in several locations along Milner Road, which was still due to cleanup efforts just east of Monroe Road. A house on Milner Road sustained siding damage to both the east and west sides of the structure, and tree damage was extensive at this property. An adjacent modular home had its roof removed, and other outbuildings were damaged, with debris thrown northeast across an adjacent field. A few buildings at this property also exhibited signs of mud splatter.

A hay barn on Bridges Road had most of its top half removed, with the top also removed from another adjacent outbuilding. A home on Big Oak Road had part of its roof removed, with debris observed in an adjacent field, likely a result of damage further to the west.

The last observed damage from this tornado occurred along Cope Road, where an outbuilding was mostly destroyed, and a garage had part of its roof removed. Debris was thrown across Cope Road into a field to the east and southeast. There was no tree damage observed along the tree line to the east of Cope Road, so it is believed that the tornado caused no further damage beyond this point.

Just one minute after this tornado is believed to have ended, the National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down near Greenfield. The tornado began at approximately 2:40 a.m. and ended around 2:45 a.m., with 65 mile per hour winds. The tornado’s width was 100 yards, and its length was 4.6 miles.

The following information has been provided by the NWS about the tornado near Greenfield:

One tree was downed at a residence north of the intersection of state Route 138 and Hardins Creek Road. Further north along State Route 138, several trees were snapped.

On Road T-319A, a small unanchored shed was completely removed from its slab, and a barn had part of its roof removed on both its northwest and southeast sides. In addition, some trees in this area were snapped.

The next observed damage was along state Route 753 about one mile north of the bridge over Rattlesnake Creek, with several snapped trees. A slightly more concentrated area of tree damage was observed on Paint Creek Road just to the west of Paint Creek. Some tall trees were snapped, and sheet metal debris from earlier damage was also found along Paint Creek Road.

To the west of Paint Creek in Ross County, no further damage was observed.

The final tornado, with the largest wind speed, began in New Market at approximately 7:39 a.m. and lasted until 7:41 a.m. This tornado had 95 mile per hour winds, with a width of 150 yards and length of 2.2 miles.

The following information was provided by the NWS about this tornado.

At a location on Sanders Road just west of US Route 62, a barn roof was significantly damaged, with roofing material thrown to the east as much as a half mile away. A few trees were downed in this area.

Damage was most significant at a dairy farm on state Route 136, about 1.3 miles south of Millers Chapel Road. A large barn at this property experienced a significant amount of roof damage, including a total loss of the roof on the east side of the structure. Insulation, wood beams and sheet metal from this roof were scattered across the property and well into a field across state Route 136. A roof was also removed from a dog kennel, and a roof was partially removed from another barn at the property. Other outbuildings had minor damage as well.

The house at this property sustained minor roofing damage and several broken windows, with some damage (and partial removal) of siding. Mud splatter was observed on several sides of both the main barn and the house. Trees were snapped or downed at this property, as well as along a tree line further to the west.

Tree damage occurred on Millers Chapel Road near the intersection with Poole Lane. A few other trees were snapped in the field just to the north of Poole Lane, but damage was not observed west of the end point of Poole Lane.

No fatalities or injuries have been reported due to any of the tornadoes.

The Highland County Press
Friday, March 3, 2017 12:27 AM

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Mar 3, 2017 2:35 am

NWS makes it official: Tornado struck Highland County

National Weather Service officials confirmed Thursday that at least one tornado struck Highland County in the early morning hours Wednesday, carving a path of about seven miles.

While NWS confirmed that a tornado struck in the Leesburg area, the service had yet to determine the strength of the tornado. Residents in other parts of the county have said they believe their property was also the victim of a tornado, not just high winds.

Either way, the storms that rolled through the county beginning around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday left a path of property destruction in their wake.

Highland County Emergency Management Agency Director Jim Lyle said Thursday afternoon he was touring the county with a NWS official as they determine the scope of the damage and whether other areas were hit with what could officially be designated a tornado.

Lyle said officials believe the tornado began on SR 72 in Penn Township, just north of Samantha and just below Leesburg. He said they were determining whether it lifted and touched down in other areas, or whether damage at other parts of the county were due to high winds, not a tornado.

Lyle said that so far, he has identified 12 different properties that experienced damage, “seven what I would call severe.” He said he hoped to have more complete information Friday.

Among the severely-impacted properties were the Jolly Dairy Farm property on SR 136, with barns destroyed and a cow killed. On Cope Road near Greenfield, an older house was damaged and a garage was destroyed. Lyle said earlier that the tornado picked up a barn in the 1000 block of SR 771, spun it around and landed it against a house.

The Wilmington office of NWS issued a statement Thursday afternoon saying that the storm survey has so far determined that the tornado near Leesburg had “a path length of approximately 7 miles. Further details such as wind speed, path width, and EF rating have yet to be determined.”

By: Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at The Times Gazette

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Mar 3, 2017 12:25 am


Highland County EMA now has a Instagram account. Follow us at highland_county-ema.

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst. EMA Director
Posted: Jul 11, 2016 12:27 pm

Updated: Jan 9, 2017 9:22 am

Document and Insure your Property!

Your home, your personal belongings, and are business are meaningful and valuable assets. If a disaster strikes, having insurance for your home or business property is the best way to ensure you will have the necessary financial resources to help you repair, rebuild or replace whatever is damaged. Yet, more than half of all the homeowners in the United States do not carry adequate homeowner’s insurance to replace their home and its contents, should a catastrophic loss occur. Now, before a disaster strikes, take the time to:

America’s PrepareAthon!

Complete factsheet:

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst.EMA Director
Posted: May 23, 2016 9:40 am

Build a Disaster Preparedness Kit

Get Ready, Ohio!
Build a Disaster Preparedness Kit

For Disaster Preparedness Kit checklists for your home, vehicle, pets, and more, visit the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness site at Scroll down to the Severe Weather Preparedness box.

Author: D.Bushelman - Asst.EMA Director
Posted: Feb 9, 2016 7:17 pm