OLMSTED TOWNSHIP, Ohio — A cup of coffee and advice on staying safe during an emergency. That is what 16 attendees received during this month’s Coffee with the Chiefs in Olmsted Township.
Olmsted Township Assistant Fire Chief Chris Methvin and Acting Police Chief Lt. Mark Adam presented information from the Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management on being prepared when facing a disaster or an emergency.
“We respond as quickly as possible in any emergency. But you are the first responders, and being prepared helps yourself and your family in keeping safe,” Methvin said.
He cited one example when Hurricane Isabel hit the city of Richmond, Va., in 2003. Methvin, who was a firefighter there then, said the city saw “massive” amounts of trees down and “lots” of wind damage.
“We had about 7,000 calls within an hour,” Methvin said. “All three shifts were called in, and we ran out of vehicles, which numbered, at that time, 300. The city and its safety forces were hit hard in reacting to all the calls.
“Residents can help themselves (if) local emergency help can’t arrive immediately.”
The county has an Emergency Preparedness Guide that stresses that everyone should have a plan and a kit that will help when a tornado, fire or other disaster happens in the county, your city or at home.
“Everyone needs a plan. You need to know not only how to get out of your house, but where to meet when you do so,” Methvin said. “That helps you and us know if everyone is out of the house or your business.”
Methvin and Adam agreed that it’s a good idea to invest in an emergency radio that features weather information, preferably one that has a crank to keep operating after its batteries have died. Such devices alert you when a disaster may be at hand.
Families and individuals should practice getting out of their houses or businesses, then meeting at the designation location to ensure that all are out safely. When developing such a plan, decide how you will alert family members living elsewhere, including out of state.
“This preparation will help you in dealing with emergencies and avoiding communication problems later,” Methvin said.
Having an emergency kit is important when facing a disaster. Our son lives in Houston. I never heard of a “hurricane” kit until he moved there. Everyone has — or should have — one when a hurricane, tornado or high water hit folks in that southern state.
The same is true elsewhere. What if your electricity is out for days or driving in the area is impossible? This is where a kit is not only handy, but could help save your life.
Two kits are even better — one for the home and another should you need to evacuate and leave.
Each kit, according to the county, should have one gallon of water per person per day; a three-day supply of non-perishable food — for people and pets; a week’s supply of medication and medical supplies; at least one flashlight and extra batteries; coats, gloves, hats, boots and blankets to keep warm; infant needs, such as milk and diapers; low denominations of cash, checks and change; a fire extinguisher; a solar cell phone charger, an extra pair of glasses and, yes, even toilet paper.
Emergency survival food is available at various sporting or camping stores. They can last for 25 years or more. There are other items you may also want to consider in your kit.
A car kit also is invaluable. You never know when you or another motorist may have an emergency. Here are a few items you may want to include in your car — sand, rock salt or kitty litter to provide traction; paper and pen; books; games for kids; jumper cables; a shovel and ice scraper; a cell phone charger; flares/reflective triangle; a full tank of gas; sterile gloves; maps; and a first aid kit.
One of the slide presentations explained five things everyone can do to help them face an emergency. They are make a plan, make a kit, sign up for emergency notifications, get to know your neighbors and learn more by going to such credible places as city government, library and informational websites.
Methvin and Adam brought up many great points during this gathering. It is good to know that Olmsted Township and Olmsted Falls have designated “warming” locations should power outages occur. Olmsted Township has a large community room in its Fitch Road administration building, which also has a generator.
Adam said monthly gatherings like this are important for the community and the safety forces.
“It is important to engage with the community and offer information at these meetings,” Adam said. “We need to be that point of contact for good information. Meeting like this helps all of us communicate together and stay informed, no matter the subject.”
Jeanite Capretto attended the coffee and said she was glad she did.
“This was extremely educational,” she said. “Many of us don’t have family close by. This has helped us plan better in case of an emergency. I’m glad I came.”
For more information about creating an action plan and kits, go to the county’s emergency management website, ready.cuyahogacounty.us.
Last month, the coffee went on the road to the Columbia manufactured home park, where 60 residents learned how drones help fire and police, especially in this community.
The coffees are offered at 9 a.m. on the fourth Friday of each month, except November and December, when they occur on the third Friday due to holidays. Ann Reichle with Angelina’s Pizza also provides her breakfast pizza at the gathering.
Olmsted Falls offers Coffee with the Mayor and Chiefs on the first Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. at City Hall.
Why not attend one of them and learn more about our safety forces and how they help you and their communities.
Falls Day in the Park: Yes, it’s that time already for some autumn fun at East River Park.
Falls Day in the Park is from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday (Oct. 3). Thanks to the city’s Recreation and Parks Board, the event has expanded.
CLE Market will be there with many vendors for a jumpstart on holiday shopping. The Olmsted Falls High School marching band will start it off with some great music and performances in front of the park’s hill. Then, DJ Melanie will provide more music and entertainment.
The school district’s Buster the Bus will be there, as well as a balloon artist for the youngest Bulldogs. Local Scouts will have a climbing wall for the more adventurous folks at the event. Our Olmsted Falls Garden Club will offer pumpkin decorating at the pavilion.
The Olmsted Falls Kiwanis Club, the Donauschwaben’s German-American Center and Grand Pacific Popcorn Company will offer food and snacks.
And don’t forget the main event — the naming of the Olmsted Falls Citizen of the Year. Why not join in the fun at the park this Sunday.
Christian music concert: Keep the music going Sunday (Oct. 3) with the concert at Grace Church.
Ernesto Alcantara will present his Blown Away Concert beginning at 7 p.m. at the church, 6941 Columbia Road.
Ernesto had a presence here in the community at the church and as Jesus Christ in “Compassion the Musical” that was performed here and at several Northeast Ohio locations in 2019. He will perform his latest single, “Blown Away,” and other spiritual songs.
Ernesto has performed with several outstanding recording artists and acted in a few movies. He is truly an amazing artist.
Opening the event is Sanctuary, a musical group that includes Josh, Elizabeth and Nathan of the local John and Andrea Gonzalez family. The singing family also includes Stephen, Zachary, Nicholas and Sarah.
Elizabeth, Nathan and Josh just recorded their first CD as Sanctuary and will perform original and popular worship songs at the concert. The family members are all Olmsted Falls High School graduates and St. Mary of the Falls parishioners.
Also performing at the concert will be singer Indy Aleese and the Grace CMA Worship.
Tickets at $18 online, $22 at the door and $15 for students, the latter of which must be purchased at the door. To buy tickets online, go to ernestoalcantara.com and click on the $18 icon that is located near the bottom of the page.
Halloween decorating deadline: The deadline to enter your home or business in the Olmsted Chamber’s Fright Fight is Oct. 5!
Our Olmsted Chamber of Commerce is presenting this new, free competition for your “frightful and spooktacular” Halloween display for the community to enjoy and to vote for its favorite.
Residents and businesses can enter to win a cash prize, trophy, recognition on the chamber’s website and social media, and — just simply — bragging rights. All displays must be completed by Oct. 9 — and there is a valid reason for that date.
The chamber will post a driving map of all the contestants on Oct. 9. The public will have from Oct. 9 to Oct. 31 to tour the locations and vote for their favorite in an online poll. Voting will close at the 11:59 p.m. Oct. 31 bewitching hour.
You may register at https://bit.ly/3ocsABc. But hurry, the deadline is just a Hallo-scream away!
Check out the chamber’s news at its olmstedchamber.org website or Facebook page for more details.
A grand welcome: The Bistro on the Falls will officially open Thursday (Sept. 30), but reservations are at a premium since people are anxious to dine there.
The restaurant had a recent soft opening, and those who attended had great comments about the food and their dining experience. The Bistro is at 8134 Columbia Road, the former French restaurant.
Its website is bistroonthefalls.com, at which you may make reservations and view its menu. Its Facebook page also has that information. The Bistro also offers take-out orders by calling 440-793-5038.
Job posting: The Olmsted Community Center is heading into its busy season. It is seeking an administrative assistant who enjoys the rewarding feeling of working at the center and serving the community, according to its email. An ideal candidate would be one who has used the center or maybe you know of someone just right for the job.
The center is accepting resumes through Oct. 8. Interviews will be scheduled the following week. Resumes or letters of interest should be emailed to email@example.com, dropped off at the center or mailed to Olmsted Community Center, 8170 Mapleway Drive, Olmsted Falls, OH 44138.
Like many small businesses, the center has worked extra hard during the COVID-19 pandemic, cut office hours and run its programs understaffed.
Just a reminder that it has a year-long campaign to commemorate its 20th anniversary. You may still donate to the $20 for Twenty campaign through 2021. You may do so by going to OCC $20 for TWENTY.
If you have questions about the administrative assistance post or the $20 campaign, call 440-427-1599.
Yard work help: The annual Community Yard Charge is set for Nov. 13.
Various groups — such as Boy, Girl and Cub Scouts; Key Club; Builders Club; and Olmsted Falls High School Student Council — are donating their time to clear leaves from Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township yards.
Contact Sandra Graham at 440-235-2588 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
Olmsted Township also is accepting names to add to its list. You may have your name placed on that list for help with your property by calling 440-235-3099 or emailing email@example.com. This community service is free.
Local Halloween fun: The city and township are offering Halloween fun this month. More details on their events in next week’s column.
Information, please: To include news, tidbits, honors or activities in Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township, contact Joanne DuMound at firstname.lastname@example.org. She is also on Twitter, @JoanneDuMound. The column’s online version at cleveland.com/olmsted has direct links for many news items.
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