Ready for disaster? Meeting prepares residents


After the remnants of Hurricane Ike blasted through central Ohio in November 2008, and in the wake of the freak windstorm last June, Rob Wood began to ask himself some questions:

* Can I better prepare my family for an emergency?

* Can the community be better prepared?

* What resources are available for at-risk populations if power were off for a long time during particularly hot or cold weather?

* What triggers a larger response?

* Which agencies would respond?

* How would they respond?

* How do they coordinate their efforts?

Next Thursday, Oct. 11, the District 1 Clintonville Area Commission representative and others in the community can get some of the answers to those and other issues.

Wood will hold a presentation on emergency preparedness beginning at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at Crestview Presbyterian Church, 350 E. Tulane Ave.

Representatives from the American Red Cross and Columbus Public Health are scheduled to be on hand, Wood announced in an email last week.

"I think the idea is to see how these different organizations coordinate," Wood said. "My observations after both Ike and the derecho, the neighborhood really comes together well and does a lot of things for itself.

"There were a lot of people who cleared streets and things like that, just neighbors ... so the question becomes, do we need to be better coordinated, can we be better coordinated and if something bigger happens, how can we be prepared for that?"

He predicted that major emergencies -- weather-related or otherwise -- are a question of when, not if.

"I believe that ongoing climate change may make us susceptible to volatile weather patterns," Wood said. "Certainly, no one wants that to happen, but we can live with less fear and go about our daily lives more productively if we have a better sense of how we can come together should something happen."

Red Cross officials will focus Oct. 11 on what individuals and families can do to prepare their homes and themselves in the event of an emergency, while also talking about the network that swings into action in large-scale situations, Wood said. Health department representatives will discuss the assets they offer in various situations.

"For both of them, they're looking for questions from the community," Wood said.