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