A day after a so-called "Derecho" weather system with very high winds knocked out power to over a million people in western, central and southeast Ohio, both state and federal help is on the way.
President Obama has signed a request to get federal help for infrastrucure affected by the storm. Power company estimates say some may have to wait five to seven days to get power restored, with forecast temperatures above 90 through most of the week.
The Ohio Emergency Management Agency clarifies that federal help will go directly to infrastructure affected by the storm, and is not meant to go directly to individuals or businesses...and also is not meant to reimburse state or local governments.
News release - Gov. John R. Kasich's office
OHIO’S FEDERAL EMERGENCY DECLARATION GRANTED
Generators and Water On the Way in Response to Power Outages and Severe Heat
COLUMBUS – Gov. John R. Kasich announced (Saturday night) that President Barack Obama granted his request for federal assistance and declared a federal emergency in Ohio due to the severe weather and extensive power outages across two-thirds of the state.
The Federal Emergency Declaration allows the federal government to support Ohio with direct assistance such as generators and water. Additional resources may be requested as needed.
“As I told the President this afternoon, Ohio is facing a severe situation. I appreciate his quick response and am glad that additional equipment and supplies will soon start arriving. I've already declared a state emergency and activated the National Guard, and will continue to work with the EMA to evaluate the situation to determine our needs going forward," said Kasich.
• June 30: Gov. Kasich's request for federal assistance is approved.
• June 30: Gov. Kasich spoke to the President and requested federal assistance to respond to the storm. He also spoke with utility company CEOs and local elected officials to make state resources available to expedite recovery activities.
• June 30: Gov. Kasich declared an emergency for the entire state of Ohio so state agencies can assist local government response and recovery efforts. The National Guard was activated to help deliver needed supplies and conduct door-to-door checks in select areas to identify vulnerable Ohioans threatened by the severe heat.
• June 29: Ohio’s Emergency Operations Center in Columbus was activated to coordinate state and local storm recovery efforts. The state contacted Federal Emergency Management Agency officials to let them know federal assistance may be needed.
• June 29: Severe storms and high winds during evening rush hour knocked out power for approximately one million homes and businesses across two-thirds of the state.
Residents without power can call their local 211 numbers for information and assistance, or 911 in an emergency. Information is also available online at www.ema.ohio.gov and on Twitter at #OHwx and #severeweather.
News release - The White House
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
News release - Ohio Emergency Management Agency
Hurricane Irene is headed toward the East Coast and the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties is mobilizing disaster workers and equipment to support preparation and relief efforts along much of the eastern seaboard to help those in the path of this powerful storm. Earlier in the week, the local chapter sent its Emergency Relief Vehicle (ERV) and two volunteer drivers to Raleigh, NC to support one of dozens of Red Cross pre-staging operations. The vehicle will likely be used to distribute food and clean-up supplies to North Carolina coastal residents affected by the storm. It is just one of 200 Red Cross ERVs heading towards the coast.
Three additional disaster volunteers were deployed on Thursday and another four on Friday to assist with Red Cross shelter operations in Rhode Island, New Jersey and North Carolina. They be joining an additional 700 Red Cross disaster workers from as far away as Texas which the Red Cross has called up in preparation for the storm. Numerous other disaster volunteers and staff members are also on alert as additional deployments are expected over the next few days.
"The Red Cross is moving volunteers, vehicles and supplies, getting ready for a response effort that spans nearly the entire East Coast," said Toby Ann Weber, CEO of the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties. "Hurricane Irene is predicted to be the largest storm to hit the East Coast in more than 70 years, and could threaten several big population centers, so we've been getting ready at the Red Cross."
"Our disaster volunteers are trained to deal with disasters and are prepared to leave at a moment's notice when a mobilization is called," continues Weber. "They will be involved in everything from disaster assessment to mass feeding and shelter set-up and administration. We even have specially-trained volunteers who provide mental health counseling to disaster victims."
Dozens of shelters are being prepared all along the East Coast. People can find open Red Cross shelters by viewing an interactive Google map at www.redcross.org or by downloading the free Red Cross shelter app for their iPhone from the iTunes store. A mobile-friendly version of the Hurricane Safety Checklist is now available for smart phone users to download at www.redcross.org/mobile.
It's important that local residents know they can stay in contact with loved ones in the areas likely affected by Hurricane Irene through the Red Cross Safe and Well website," explains Mike Taylor, Director of Communications for the American Red Cross of Summit and Portage Counties. Safe and Well is a secure, easy-to-use online tool to help families connect in an emergency. People can register by visiting the Red Cross web site or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).
Additionally, Irene could affect blood collections along the East Coast at a time when the nation's blood supply is already low. The Red Cross is urging those who are eligible to give blood prior to the storm's arrival. Donating blood now, before the storm, will help ensure blood is available in the aftermath of Irene should conditions prohibit people from traveling to blood collections.
Individuals who are 17 years of age (16 with parental permission in some states), meet height and weight requirements (110 pounds or more, depending on their height), and who are generally in good health may be eligible to donate blood. To schedule an appointment, please call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit us online at www.redcrossblood.org.
On average, the Red Cross spends about $450 million on disaster relief every year. Individuals desiring to support Red Cross disaster efforts can make a donation to American Red Cross Disaster Relief by visiting www.redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations can also be sent to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013 or to their local Red Cross chapter at 501 West Market Street, Akron, OH 44303.
"As the recent storms of last spring and now Irene demonstrate, individuals everywhere need to be prepared and ready for an emergency," adds Taylor. "We recommend that people be Red Cross Ready by having a plan for an emergency – in our area, that is usually a home fire – have a disaster kit ready with essentials like food, water and a working flashlight, and staying informed by listening to local weather warnings." Individuals can learn more about preparedness by visiting www.summitcounty.redcross.org. Businesses and organization should consider enrolling in the Red Cross Ready Rating program at http://readyrating.org/.
Copyright © 2013 AkronNewsNow & Rubber City Radio Group |All Rights Reserved | 1795 West Market Street | Akron, OH 44313 | 330.869.9800