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Prepare for the unexpected

September is National Preparedness Month, and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is taking advantage of the opportunity to ask Buckeye State residents to “Prepare to protect. Preparing for disasters is protecting everyone you love.”

FEMA, the Ohio Emergency Management Agency and ReadyOhio are asking Buckeye State families to work toward weekly preparedness goals such as building an emergency kit, making an emergency plan or volunteering within our communities.

These are things each of us can quickly and easily do to be better prepared the next time Mother Nature leaves us at a loss.

“Emergencies can happen at any time and without any notice, so it’s important to think ahead and be prepared. National Preparedness Month is a good opportunity for Ohioans to make a plan to expect the unexpected,” DeWine said.

Yes, such efforts are important. Here in Ohio and also in West Virginia we could face tornadoes, floods, fires, industrial accidents … the list is worryingly endless. Certainly news of western wildfires and Hurricane Ida’s wrath remind us just how bad it can get — particularly when we’re not prepared.

And we also know that from our own past experiences. The Ohio River has risen out of its banks and flooded our homes. Local creeks and streams have become deadly “walls of water” rushing through our communities. Fires have devastated families and businesses, and tornadoes and other storms have torn roofs from homes, downed trees and power lines and pulled hillsides down on buildings and roadways.

So, we know we should always be prepared.

But while we’re busy protecting ourselves and our loved ones from the unknown, DeWine said we also should redouble our efforts to prepare for and protect against this virus we have known for a year and a half.

Prepare by getting vaccinated, wearing (and washing) your masks, washing and sanitizing hands often, and maintaining social distance.

We can protect everyone we love by taking those steps, too.

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