Emergency Preparedness

Natural Disasters & Severe Weather

Any of the following natural disasters & severe weather can happen in Mercer County. The likelihood of some of them is low, but possible. Preparation is very similar for all and is very important.

  • Power outages – May occur at any time of the day or night and may last from a blink of the lights to hours or days, depending upon the cause.  Click here to learn more.
  • Tornadoes – Typically occur during spring and summer months, but may occur at any time. Damage path can be 50 miles long and 1 mile wide in severe cases.  Click here to learn more.
  • Winter weather – Severe storms may shut down an area for days or weeks. Extreme cold invites hypothermia & frostbite. Pipes may freeze. Ice creates slipping hazards. Poor ventilation during heating can cause carbon monoxide build-up in a home, causing sickness or death.  Click here to learn more.
  • Severe heat  – Some things you can do during extreme heat are to drink plenty of fluids, replace salt and minerals, get to an area that is cool if you have no way to cool yourself, limit outdoor activities and pace yourself.  Click here to learn more.
  • Floods – Store food and water safely. Listen to public announcements concerning the flood. If told to evacuate, DO IT! Beware of electrical hazards, mold, disease, stray animals, carbon monoxide poisoning caused by inappropriate indoor use of gas grills or similar items. Click here to learn more.
  • Earthquakes – Not a major concern in Ohio, however there have been some magnitude 5 earthquakes in Ohio that have caused moderate damage. Click here to learn more.
  • Wildfires – Wildfires of the magnitude seen in the western United States is not likely here, however, Ohio has acres that are heavily forested and a wildfire may happen. Click here to learn more.


A bio-terrorism attack is the deliberate release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs (agents) used to cause illness or death in people, animals, or plants. Click here for general information.

Sheltering in place – For CHEMICAL emergencies, choose a room in your house or apartment that has the fewest windows and is as high in the building as possible. This is to avoid chemical gases that sink. Choose a room with a water supply, if possible. NOTE: This is different from emergencies like tornadoes and other severe weather and nuclear events. Be sure to bring along your emergency supply kit. You should only have to shelter for a few hours, but prepare to shelter longer. For a more complete guide and to see what should be in a chemical shelter-in-place kit, click here.

Evacuation – Follow the directions of local law enforcement or local emergency coordinators. Every situation is different, so it is important to follow directions. It is usually a good idea to bring along a small water supply. Remember any critical medications. If time, allow family that is some distance away to know where you are going (if they are nearby, they will probably be evacuating also). For a more complete guide, click here.

Personal cleaning & disposal of contaminated clothing – In a chemical emergency, you will likely come into contact with some amount of chemical contaminant(s). It is important to clean yourself and clean or dispose of clothing that was exposed. Click here to learn more.

Poison Control Center phone number – 1-800-222-1222

Radiological – Click here to visit the CDC Radiation Emergency web page.

FAQs – Click here to read frequently asked questions on radiological emergencies.

Dirty bombs – A dirty bomb is an explosive mixed with some type of radioactive material. When the bomb detonates, it spreads radioactive material to the surrounding area.  Click here to learn more.

Sheltering in place – During a radiation emergency, the safest place is in a central room or a basement, as far from windows as possible. Bring your emergency supplies. Normally this is the area they will be stored in preparation. You and your family may be here awhile, so have a long term plan.  Click here to learn more.

Nuclear reactor – A nuclear accident has potential for major problems. Potential problems vary in scale, so in the event of a problem with this reactor, follow the instructions of local law enforcement and/or local emergency coordinators.

When preparing for a possible emergency situation, it’s best to think first about the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.

Recommended Items to Include in a Basic Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers

Additional Items to Consider Adding to an Emergency Supply Kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water for your pet
  • Important family documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container
  • Cash or traveler’s checks and change
  • Emergency reference material such as a first aid book or information from www.ready.gov
  • Sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person. Consider additional bedding if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Complete change of clothing including a long sleeved shirt, long pants and sturdy shoes. Consider additional clothing if you live in a cold-weather climate.
  • Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper – When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant. Or in an emergency, you can use it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels
  • Paper and pencil
  • Books, games, puzzles or other activities for children