Recent flooding adds immediacy to National Preparedness Month

By Justin Wier


With recent flooding in parts of Mahoning County, National Preparedness Month may have more immediacy this year.

The observance, designated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, takes place in September because of 9/11.

“It’s a time to encourage residents to prepare themselves for any type of emergency, whether it’s an act of terrorism or a natural disaster like flooding or a tornado,” said Dennis O’Hara, who directs the county’s Emergency Management Agency.

O’Hara’s agency carried out a survey of neighborhoods affected by the Aug. 10 flooding, which O’Hara said was the county’s worst in his time as director.

His advice? Talk to your insurance agent to make sure you have the proper type of insurance.

The Mahoning County Sanitary Engineer also has a gate-valve program that will cover up to $2,500 on the installation of a gate valve, which can stop backup from the county’s wastewater system from getting into your house.

For less-specific preparations, O’Hara recommended creating an emergency preparedness kit.

“In that kit, you would need supplies to sustain yourself for 72 hours in the event of a large-scale incident,” O’Hara said.

That would include one gallon of drinking water per person for three days, nonperishable food items and personal hygiene items.

With winter approaching, O’Hara encouraged residents to keep a kit in their car with food, water, cold-weather gear and a blanket.

County residents who would like more guidance on disaster preparedness can visit or stop by the Mahoning County commissioner’s booth in the government building at the Canfield Fair where the EMA will have fliers.

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