Ready for the storm? Here is what you should know

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) –  Weather disasters can pop up in a matter of minutes, and many residents find themselves unprepared.

The Mahoning County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), and other similar offices across the Valley, take great effort to make sure your first line of notification, the emergency sirens, are in place and working as they should.

Even with the siren notifications, some residents still finds themselves unprepared in severe weather.

“Our 52 sirens do not cover every location in the county. They also are not designed for in the house,” said EMA Director Dennis O’Hara. “In a severe storm, even if you live in close proximity to a siren, you have to turn your television on. If it is storming, it is raining, it is loud outside. You might not hear that siren.”

A weather radio is good item to have in the home. Alerts can be set on most models to inform you of flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Some can also be set for other disasters such as chemical spills or other environmental issues. But O’Hara said local news media is the fastest way to get the most up to date information.

The WKBN First News weather team is concentrated on bringing viewers the most accurate and timely information both on air, online, and on all mobile devices.

While local utility companies have invested millions to make sure the power grid works when it is needed most, they still keep a close eye on the weather.

“We actually have meteorologists on our staff, and they are monitoring the weather and how it could affect each of our service areas,” said Mark Durbin, public relations representative for First Energy.

Durbin said if there is an emergency, don’t wait until after the storm has hit to start gathering supplies. Your emergency kit should contain an adequate supply of water for everyone in your family, flashlight with extra batteries, and a cell phone charger that can be operated in a vehicle.

Phone networks can get overwhelmed during weather events so consider sending a text instead of trying to call loved ones.

For more emergency preparation tips, click here.

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