Posts Tagged ‘emergency preparedness’

Fall is here!  The mornings are cooler and there is a hint of color on the trees.  Fall is a perfect time to enjoy the beauty of the season.  Cool morning air, beautiful colors  and even some pumpkin spice. It’s time to pause, reflect and recharge.  With the holiday season around the corner, it’s the season to slow down and assess your health and wellness.

Change is challenging, not only for the trees but for people too.  Ask a friend or colleague to join you in your journey to wellness.  Here are some tips for a healthier fall:

  • Boost your immunity– as colder weather arrives, it’s important to boost your immune system with foods containing Vitamin C (oranges, limes, grapefruit, peppers) to help fight off infections. Almonds, garlic, ginger, and spinach also aids immunity health. Wash your hands often and drink lots of water.
  • Have dinner with your family.  It’s a perfect time to reconnect with your family. Families that eat together tend to consume healthier meals and strengthen family relationships.
  • Visit a local farmers market. Add in-season  fruits and vegetables into your meals. Apples, turnips, brussels sprouts, and squash are great in-season options to add to your meals for nutrient dense benefits.
  • Watch those tailgate party calories.  Enjoy,  yet consider filling up on vegetables and modify foods to healthier options.
  • As cooler weather arrives, it’s a perfect time to get outdoors and enjoy the beauty of the season. Take a walk-in nature for increased physical activity.
  • Sterilize your most touched items.  Your cell phone, keyboard, remote, and tablet are exposed to bacteria. Wipe down these surfaces frequently with a sanitizing wipe. 
  • Get enough vitamin D — This essential vitamin helps the body absorb calcium. We get most of our Vitamin D from the sun, so our intake decreases when the weather is colder since we spend most of our time inside during the fall/winter seasons. If you find you are not getting outside much, good sources of  Vitamin D include  salmon, tuna, and mushrooms.  Fortified foods that contain Vitamin D are cow’s milk, orange juice cereal and oatmeal. Vitamin D  can boost your mood and immune system!
  • Prepare your home for possible extreme weather conditions.  Is your snow shovel accessible?  Is your furnace and snow blower serviced and set to go.  Check the batteries in your flashlights and smoke detectors. 

With so many fun activities to do in the fall — apple picking, corn mazes, fall festivals, tail gating, football —  you’ll want to stay healthy to enjoy it all!

Have a happy and healthy fall!

Written by: Beth Stefura, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County, stefura.2@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Shari Gallup, Assistant Professor, Ohio State University Extension, Licking County, gallup.1@osu.edu





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Snow, ice or both are here!  Are you prepared with some emergency food supplies?  Do youpicture of ice on tree branch have emergency supplies of water?  Knowing what to purchase and being prepared can provide you with some peace of mind during this season of snow and ice storms.

Since snow and ice can last for awhile, try to have at least a three day supply of non-perishable food.  If possible, it would be best to have a one week supply.  Make sure you have a least a three-day supply of water which means at least 1 gallon a day for each person.  Don’t forget medical needs and supplies for infants and pets.

What nonperishable foods should you have on your grocery list?

  • Water – at least one gallon a day per person for a minimum of three days. If you purchase water pay attention to expiration dates. You can store your own water but make sure you have enough containers.  If you store your own water you will want to change the water every few days.
  • Grains – 100% whole-wheat or whole-grain bread, crackers, un-refrigerated whole-wheat tortillas, ready to eat cereals, canned pasta or rice, granola bars
  • Vpictures of canned foods on grocery store shelvesegetables – canned vegetables, canned tomato sauce and salsa, canned soup or chili, canned vegetable salads like three-bean or potato, canned vegetable juices
  • Fruits – canned (in fruit juice or light syrup) and dried fruit, unsweetened applesauce, fruit cups, freeze-dried fruits, bottled/canned or boxed 100% fruit juices, fresh fruit with a longer shelf life like oranges, apples or pears
  • Dairy – dry milk powder, shelf-stable (ultra-pasteurized), or/and evaporated milk
  • Protein – beans (canned pinto, black, kidney, pork and beans), canned refried beans, jerky, nuts, trail mix, peanuts, peanut butter and other nut butters, canned nuts, canned or vacuum-sealed pouches of tuna, chicken, meats or sausages or dried meats

Only buy foods you or your family will eat.  Some foods such as the fresh fruit you will need to rotate the supply more quickly than on canned items.  OSU Extension has a fact sheet with a three day menu using emergency supplies “Eating Nutritiously When the Power is Out.”  The fact sheet will provide you with equipment and safety precautions when preparing food without heat and aiming for no leftovers.

It is not recommended to eat canned food without heating it first but when you don’t have any power it may become necessary.  The factsheet will provide you with the information and some suggested recipes to help you eat healthy and have variety in your meals.

If you don’t have any power remember to keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed.  A full freezer will hold temperature for approximately 48 hours, or at least 24 hours if it is half full and the door remains closed.  If the freezer is in a cold area food in the freezer will be safe longer. The refrigerator will keep food safely cold for about four hours if unopened.picture of FEMA fact sheet

Tips on “How to Prepare for a Winter Storm” can provide you with other information to be prepared for a winter storm emergency. Be safe and stay warm.  Let’s hope we all have electricity and heat all winter.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fayette County, brinkman.93@osu.edu

Reviewer: Shannon Carter, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension Fairfield County


American Red Cross, (2019).  Survival Kit Supplies.  Available at https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/survival-kit-supplies.html

Brinkman, P., Coplin, S., & Medeiros, L. (2016).  Eating Nutritiously When the Power is Out, HYG-5582.  Available at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/hyg-5582

FEMA, Department of Homeland Security, How to Prepare for a Winter Storm. Available at https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1494008826172-76da095c3a5d6502ec66e3b81d5bb12a/FEMA_2017_WinterStorm_HTP_FINAL.pdf


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Just about everyone I’ve talked to lately says how tired they are of our cold weather and that they are ready for spring.  We all look forward to the days of sunshine, warm breezes and fresh air.

We need to remember, though, that the spring season also brings the possibilities of severe weather and take some time to plan ahead to keep ourselves and our families safe.  This is Ohio’s Severe Weather Awareness Week – March 18-24, 2018 and a perfect time to remind ourselves how to keep safe.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reminds us that severe thunder storms and tornadoes are much more prevalent at this time of the year and it is important to have a safety plan in place.  Some of their suggestions include:

  • If you are inside your house or other building:
    • Identify shelter locations well before the storm hits.
    • Seek a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor possible.
    • Stay away from doors, windows, and outside walls.
    • Stay in the center of the room, and avoid corners because they attract debris.
    • Avoid auditoriums, cafeterias and gymnasiums that have flat, wide-span roofs.
  • If you are outside:
    • Try to seek shelter in a nearby building if you can.
    • Never try to outrun a tornado in your car.
    • If there is a low lying area such as a ditch nearby, you can lie down in that area and cover your head with your arms.
  • If you are in your workplace
    • It is a good idea to have a plan that everyone in the building has practiced.
    • Know who is in the office so that everyone can be accounted for before and after the storm.
  • Have an emergency contact plan for your family or coworkers. Designate one number that everyone should call to connect.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has created documents that can help us all better prepare for these severe weather occurrences.  They provide definitions to explain the difference between watches and warnings and appropriate measures to take with each level of warning.

Take the time to make a plan for your family and co-workers as we enter this time of the year when severe weather can strike at a moment’s notice.

Written by:  Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu


Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Natural Disasters and Severe Weather. https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/tornadoes/prepared.HTML

Federal Emergency Management Agency. How to Prepare for a Tornado. (https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409003506195-52740fd2983079a211d041f7aea6b85d/how_to_prepare_tornado_033014_508.PDF

The American Red Cross . Be Red Cross Ready.


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The dog days of summer are upon us. Heat and humidity can make it difficult to be comfortable, especially for those who don’t have air conditioning.  Extreme heat can even be deadly, causing heat exhaustion or heatstroke if not treated in time.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates approximately 600 people die from heat related complications each year.  This is more deaths than from all other natural disasters combined (flooding, tornadoes, and hurricanes). Those who are most vulnerable include infants, children, the elderly, those who work outdoors, and people with chronic medical conditions.

Heat exhaustion is when the body overheats and can lead to heatstroke if the symptoms are not treated in time. According to the Mayo Clinic, the symptoms of heat exhaustion are heavy sweating, rapid pulse, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, headache, and muscle cramps. These symptoms often occur when a person is participating in strenuous physical activity.  If a person is experiencing these symptoms, immediately have them rest, move to a cooler place and drink water or sports drinks.  Seek immediate medical attention if the symptoms don’t improve within an hour.

Heat exhaustion is preventable by taking some simple precautions. By planning ahead of time when a high heat index is predicted, you can stay as cool as a cucumber by following these simple tips:

summer heat







  • Stay hydrated and drink more water than you usually do. Avoid beverages with caffeine, alcohol, or high amounts of sugar. If you are physically active or sweating more than usual, try drinking a sport drink with electrolytes.
  • Wear loose, comfortable clothing in natural fibers such as cotton, linen, or hemp. These allow your body to breathe.
  • Cool off with water by soaking your feet in a tub of cold water. Keep a spray bottle of water in the refrigerator and mist yourself throughout the day. Take it with you when you leave the house.
  • If your house isn’t air conditioned, head to your local library, mall or community building. If your house has a basement, create a comfortable area where you can sit when it’s hot outside.
  • Create a cross breeze by positioning a fan across the room from a window. To cool the room down even more, place a pan of ice in front of the fan to generate a cool breeze.
  • Cool off your house or apartment by turning of lights and using heat-generating appliances at night, such as washers, dryers, and irons.
  • Dampen a towel or small blanket with cool water and wrap it around your body.
  • Take a cool shower.

lemons and ice

One extra note – remember your four-legged friends especially during the heat. Dogs and cats don’t have the ability to sweat like humans, so they will be affected differently by heat.  Give your pet a haircut and keep them indoors on hot days, providing them with water.  Limit outdoor activity or exercise and don’t push them too hard.  When they are outside, be sure they have a shady spot to lie in and make sure they have plenty of cool water to drink.  Avoid hot surfaces since your pet is basically barefoot.  If your dog doesn’t have much fur, you can use a special pet sunblock with zinc oxide to prevent burns. Never leave a pet in a parked car, even on cooler days.  The inside temperature heats up very quickly!  If you think your pet is overheated, get them into shade or air conditioning immediately.  Don’t submerge them in cold water; cooling down too quickly can cause problems.  Wet them under a faucet or hose with lukewarm water and let the air flow around them.  Offer small amounts of water to drink and call your veterinarian immediately.

Enjoy summer and all the fun activities it brings – picnics, swimming, gardening, and long lazy days…

References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat Related Illness, https://www.cdc.gov/extremeheat/warning.html

WebMD, Green Tips for a Cool Summer, http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/features/green-tips-for-a-cool-summer.

City of Cincinnati Health Department, http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/health/news/excessive-heat-warning-issued/

Written by: Jennifer Even, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Hamilton County.

Reviewed by: Liz Smith, M.S., RDN, L.D., Ohio State University Extension, SNAP-Ed.

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You have a medical emergency and no one knows your history. They base your treatment on your vitals and condition – but maybe they don’t know the medications you take or a disease you may have. My sister, Debbie was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was 4 years old. One of her biggest fears is that she will have low blood sugar and the medical team treating her thinks it is high blood sugar and treats her with the wrong medication.

It could be deadly. How can we prevent this mishap? Here are some suggestions to get you started:

    • Keep It With You – Personal Medical Form. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you “Keep It With You” (KIWY) by using this Personal Medical Information Form. This form is intended to be a voluntary and temporary record that lists health information for people who need care during disasters. It also could be handy in the event you are in an accident. This simple form can provide reliable information about you or your family member.
    • Use an App! – My Smart phone has a Health App that can be accessed even in an emergency. If your phone is locked, and you are in an accident or medical crisis, anyone can open this app and see basic medical information as well as emergency contacts. Take a minute right now to locate and open this app. At the minimum put in your name, medical conditions, allergies, date of birth, medications, and emergency contacts. How thoughtful of Nurse Julia Thompson to share this tip in an article and Facebook post. If you have an android phone, list emergency contacts under ICE – In Case of Emergency. If you don’t want to use an App, you can also list your name as the owner of the phone and include basic information. Select the option to share this information when phone is locked.
    • Wear it – wear a medic alert bracelet or tag. My sister has several options she can pick from to clip her medical alert bracelet to a different strand of beads.
    • Put a Card in Your Wallet – My sister has this card front and center in her wallet. It clearly states that her blood should be tested before treatment.

What’s next? Take 5 minutes to update your phone, find the app, list your emergency contacts, and medical conditions. If the paper path suits you better, print and fill out the Keep It With You form available from CDC. If you have a medical emergency, make it easier for medical personnel to contact your family.

Photo Credit: Debbie Klinger





Writer: Michelle Treber, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Pickaway County, treber.1@osu.edu

Reviewer: Marilyn Rabe, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Franklin County, rabe.9@osu.edu






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thunder storm

Be prepared for the upcoming storm season. Have a plan with your family and review it frequently to ensure everyone’s safety. The American Red Cross recommends reading these storm safety tips to be prepared and having these emergency supplies on hand in a safe place with easy access:

Make a Storm Plan

• Keep emergency supplies on hand
• Familiarize yourself with local evacuation routes
• Have an escape plan and a meeting point that is simple for all family members to remember
• Be sure to make arrangements for your pet should an emergency arise
• Establish an out-of-state friend who all members of the family know how to contact

Have These Emergency Supplies on Hand in A Safe Place with Easy Access

• Flashlight
• Battery-powered or hand crank radio
• Extra batteries
• First aid kit
• Moisture wipes
• Water- Fill up bathtub and containers with water for washing
• 7-day supply of medications, including pet medications
• Copies of personal and financial documents
• Emergency contact information
• Extra cash
• Maps
• Extra car and house keys
• Charged cell phone and charger
• Hand crank cell phone charge (available at online internet companies)

Food and Water

Plan to have enough food and water per family member for up to 7 days

• Bottles water – at least 1 gallon daily/person
• Non-perishable packaged or canned food
• Baby food/formula and food for seniors
• Pet food
• Cooking tools/fuel
• Plastic plates/utensils/napkins
• Manual can opener
• Cooler

Secure Your Home

• Bring all loose items inside
• Trim dead branches from trees around your home
• Unplug any appliances not in use
• Inspect and reinforce doors, windows, roof and garage
• Take pictures of your home yearly for insurance purposes

Learn about your local community’s emergency warning system and discuss safety with family members.

Sources: American Red Cross
Author: Beth Stefura M Ed, RD, LD, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Mahoning County
Reviewer: Liz Smith, M.S, RDN., LD , NE Regional Program Specialist, SNAP-ED, OSU Extension
Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County

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