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Winter Safety Awareness Week starts today

Winter Safety Awareness Week, which starts today, serves as a reminder for all Ohioans to take steps to be better prepared for winter before it’s too late.

Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness recognize Nov. 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,” DeWine said. “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.”

This year, warmer-than-average temperatures are forecast for much of the United States from December through February, according to the annual National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Winter Outlook.

“Ohio winters are more than frigid temperatures, snow and ice,” said Sima Merick, Ohio Emergency Management Agency executive director. “An EF1 tornado touched down in Trumbull County on Jan. 8; and Clark County had an EF0 tornado on Feb. 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.

• Prepare your home for winter.

• Prepare winter emergency supplies kits for the home and vehicle.

• Check on your neighbors.

Fire departments recommend using extreme caution and awareness during the winter months because decorating for the holidays along with keeping warm has the potential to become dangerous.

“You need to have your chimney and furnace inspected annually or before the heating season. I do not recommend using portable heaters as continuous heat, only when you’re in the room. And do not use your oven,” said Warren fire Chief Ken Nussle. “Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Rule of thumb is, when you change the clocks, you should change the batteries.”

Nussle also recommends taking care when decorating, especially for those who prefer using live Christmas trees.

“Make sure you check the light strands for frays and cracks and don’t leave the trees lit overnight. If you use live trees, keep them watered daily and try not to leave them up too long after the holidays as they get very dry and brittle,” Nussle added.

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