Disaster recovery specialists offer disaster relief advice for Ohioans

COLUMBUS —The Ohio Military Reserve (OHMR), consisting of the 4th Civil Support and Sustainment Brigade, is a component of The Ohio Adjutant General’s Office. It is a Part-paid / Part-volunteer military unit trained in emergency management. This Unit is providing helpful information for Ohioans who are interested personal preparedness for emergency events such as those occurring in Texas.

According to Brigade Commander, Colonel Richard J. Vasquez, Ohioans should, “Be prepared now, for emergencies like Hurricane Harvey. Without warning, or with very limited warning, Ohioans can be evacuated or forced to fend for themselves in their homes. Preparedness is not an expensive or time- consuming task, and everyone should consider taking measures to preserve themselves in times of natural or man-made disasters.” COL Vasquez pointed to Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and how it impacted areas as far away as Ohio.

The Ohio Military Reserve is prepared to handle mass casualty events, evacuations, search and rescue, recovery efforts in case of state emergency. Some of the duties that OHMR Soldiers are trained for include setting up and staffing Points of Distribution, Volunteer Reception Centers, and Shelter. All Soldiers are trained in FEMA and MEMS (Military Emergency Management) protocol.

COL Vasquez offered these tips for Ohioans:

• Regularly stock clean water provisions in a place where they will be safe and accessible, as well as dry food stocks or meals ready to eat (MRE) to prepare for weeks without food and running water.

• Stock materials for your pets in a similar manner.

• Develop and practice an emergency evacuation plan for home and business, including rally points.

• Have a kit bag for each family member that includes flashlights, batteries, waterproof bags for important documents such as birth certificate, insurance papers, medical records. medical supplies and medications, dry clothing, shoes and provisions that a family will need for an extended stay away from home.

• Interested Ohioans may visit www.fema.gov for more information about emergency preparedness.

Ohioans inspired by the efforts to help as well as interested in being able to help themselves may join the Ohio Military Reserve. New enlistments are being accepted. Interested parties should be between the ages of 17-59, with age waivers for selected individuals between 60 and 64. Go to the state website at www.ohmr.ohio.gov/join to learn more.

Staff report