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Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP) Completed

The Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management (CCOEM) has become the first county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) in Ohio, and the 26th local EMA in the nation, to achieve accreditation by the Emergency Management Accreditation Program (EMAP).

“Accreditation demonstrates that Cuyahoga County continues to make public safety a priority," said George Taylor, Cuyahoga County Director of Public Safety and Justice Services.  "The Office of Emergency Management has devoted significant time and energy to ensuring that public safety agencies throughout the county are prepared for disaster or emergency. We are proud to be the first county-level emergency management agency in Ohio to be accredited."  
The two-year process required CCOEM to comply fully with 64 separate performance standards that cover all aspects of emergency management including planning, training, communications, operations, and administration. The capstone of the process was a week-long assessment visit by a team of EMAP assessors who painstakingly evaluated all aspects of the county's emergency management program. 

“Having gone through the EMAP accreditation process here at Ohio EMA, we recognize the significant effort it takes, as well as the tremendous benefits of going through this process," said Sima Merick, Executive Director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. This is a fantastic accomplishment and a testament to the work Cuyahoga County’s emergency managers do each and every day. 

Barb Graff, Director of the Seattle Office of Emergency Management and Chair of the EMAP Commission, added that accreditation demonstrates a community's "commitment and desire to prove to their communities that their safety is the priority."

Accreditation is valid for five years. CCOEM must maintain compliance with EMAP standards and be reassessed in 2020 to maintain accredited status. 


CCOEM staff with County Executive Armond Budish

Winter is Coming- Winter Safety Awareness Week is November 15-21, 2015

To help Ohioans prepare for this year’s cold season, the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness (OCSWA) and Cuyahoga County Office of Emergency Management are promoting Winter Safety Awareness Week, November 15-21. During this week, we are encouraging households and businesses to update safety plans, replenish disaster supply kits, and prepare themselves and their property for winter-related incidents.

“Especially before the cold and snowy weather hits, Winter Safety Week is the perfect time to update your supply kits for your home and for your vehicles,” said Sima Merick, executive director of the Ohio Emergency Management Agency. “Check the expiration dates on your nonperishable food. Stock up on bottled water. Refresh supplies in your first aid kits. Ensure you have jumper cables and supplies in your car. Make sure your vehicle is road-ready and winterized. And don’t forget to check the batteries in your flashlights, radios and smoke detectors."

When the weather is bad, driving can get pretty hectic. Before getting on the road, it’s best to know before you go. Pay attention to weather forecasts and traffic reports. Listen for reports of school and business closings, snow emergencies, traffic delays or road closures. Plan your drive time accordingly.

For more winter safety and preparedness information, visit the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather or the National Weather Service Winter Resources.

Be a Force of Nature: Prepare and Stay Safe

For many, fall brings cool air, trees displaying their brilliant colors, warm apple cider, and the crunch of leaves beneath your feet. Fall marks the kickoff of football season and students returning to school. But the season can also bring weather hazards such as strong storms with whipping winds, early season snows, and floods.

Don’t let dangerous fall weather catch you unprepared! With just a few simple steps, you can be weather-ready for whatever comes this fall.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Know Your Risk -Check every morning before you leave home to make sure you’re prepared for what the weather might bring.

2. Take Action!
3. Be A Force of Nature- Inspire others to take action by showing your friends and family how you are prepared. You can tell them over the phone, in person, or post on social media.

For more information, visit  the National Weather Service's Fall Weather Safety page.

“Fall Back” While Stepping Up Your Disaster Readiness

Sunday, November 1, Daylight Saving Time ends and we set our clocks back an hour. Take advantage of extra sleep, then take a few simple steps to make your home more disaster-resilient:

  1. Verify your carbon monoxide and smoke detector work. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing the equipment to ensure it’s functioning appropriately. Invest in new detectors if they’re near or past the manufacturer's recommended replacement age. 

  2. Have a professional inspect the chimney and any fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters) in your home to verify everything is working properly.

  3. If you’re using a fireplace, space heater, or wood stove, make sure that anything flammable is at least three feet away. Space heaters are particularly dangerous if used improperly. Make sure to use heaters that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory and always operate according to the manufacturer's guidelines.

  4. Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic. Insulating pipes will help prevent them from freezing.

Find even more information and tips to better prepare your home for the winter months ahead at and