With Spring upon us, the weather can turn from a lovely day to a treacherous day within a short amount of time. As with many potential disasters, preparation is key in overcoming the effects, or even surviving. The North Royalton CERT is no stranger to preparation, as the stronghold of the organization is to be prepared to assist with an emergency situation. The CERT members continued in their quest for ongoing preparedness with a training and equipment check exercise on Saturday morning, April 18. “This exercise/training/inspection is timed annually to prepare the NR CERT for the upcoming spring weather season. Tornadoes remain a serious threat and the NR CERT has always prepared for the possibility of our community being a victim of a spring tornado. So far, North Royalton has been spared, and we hope to continue that record,” said CERT Commander, Nick Phillips.

Of course, it is not just the city’s safety forces and CERT team that allow residents to benefit from being prepared. Individual residents benefit from their own preparedness. The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management urges residents to be prepared for possible severe weather, including flooding, tornadoes, and thunderstorms that can produce large hail and high winds. In the United States, tornadoes cause a yearly average of 62 deaths and 1,500 injuries, producing winds up to 250+ miles per hour. They can be as large as a mile wide and can stay on the ground for fifty miles. To prepare for the onslaught of a tornado, choose a room to head to with the least amount of windows in the lowest section of the building, whether it be your home, or place of employment. Tornado warning signs include a wall cloud, dark, sometimes greenish colored clouds, large hail, a funnel cloud or a noise that sounds like roaring.

The spring and summer are when thunderstorms occur most frequently. These storms can include winds of over 125 miles per hour, often accompanied by hail that can range from pea-sized to larger than a softball. To prepare for these strong winds and hail, secure lawn furniture, trash cans, and anything that is hanging, as these items can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile. During regular maintenance of your yard, remove diseased and/or damaged limbs from trees, so they won’t break off an hit your home or car. Lightning that is produced by thunderstorms results in about 50 deaths and 300 injuries yearly in the U.S. If you can hear thunder, you are close enough to by struck by lightning. Teach children to remember, “if thunder roars, go indoors.” Also, it is advised that during a thunderstorm, you do not take a bath, a shower or use plumbing.

In the United States, flash flooding is the top weather-related cause of death, with an average of over 70 deaths yearly. As flash floods can occur suddenly, it is best to be prepared to evacuate immediately and head for higher ground when a flood warning is issued. If in a vehicle, remember to “Turn Around – Don’t Drown!” Cars can be swept away by less than two feet of moving water. A person can be swept off their feet in six inches of water.

It is also advised that you assemble a disaster supply kit, including food, water, clothes, copies of financial and other important documents, first aid items and medical supplies. Create a family plan, selecting a location to assemble and practice that plan. Learn first aid and CPR, how to use a fire extinguisher and how to turn off the gas, water and electricity in your home. For more information on severe weather safety, visit the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management’s web site at www.ready.cuyahogacounty.us and register for ReadyNotify, the mass notification system used by Cuyahoga County and local municipalities to issue emergency notifications to the public.