Officials in Ohio are doing their best to get ahead of the game, and are making fantastic strides in public safety and emergency management. In events such as big storms, power failures and other emergencies, residents should see quicker responses by teams of experts with better equipment and more information.
State officials recently outlined new emergency preparedness strategies, as part of ongoing reviews of readiness to handle large-scale threats to public safety.
"Hopefully we'll have the people right on the ground so when the emergency managers and the local officials realize they have the need, they can just reach out, and the subject-matter experts are right there at their doorstep already," commented Maj. Gen. Deborah Ashenhurst, who leads the Ohio National Guard.
Earlier emergencies taught agencies across the state some painful, but valuable, lessons.
Large electric generators are now available -big enough to power a lift station to keep up water treatment during a blackout. The Ohio State Highway Patrol is deploying at least one all-wheel drive vehicle to each post, in the event that blizzard conditions hamper the new fleet of Dodge Chargers. A new Web-based system to track and map available resources is keeping the state Emergency Management Agency informed, and able to inform local governments.
And that team of experts will likely include state troopers, Ohio National Guard members, and representatives from Ohio Homeland Security, EMA and the Department of Transportation.
Good thinking and resourcefulness that included securing federal Homeland Security grant money for the eight large generators mean when the next disaster strikes, Ohio will be more ready than it has been in past events. Buckeye State residents should be grateful for the thorough strategy.