COLUMBUS, OH (WOIO) - Governor John R. Kasich declared a state of emergency for the entire state of Ohio Saturday, after severe storms and high winds knocked out power for approximately one million power company customers across two-thirds of the state.
Kasich also requested Federal Disaster Assistance for Ohio, which was approved by President Obama late Saturday evening. The approval means generators and water are enroute to Ohioans in need. More items could be sent later.
The widespread outages could take up to a week to fully restore and, together with the current severe heat wave, could create crisis situations for the elderly, young children and those with sensitive medical conditions.
The governor's declaration authorizes state agencies to take any necessary actions to assist local government authorities anywhere in Ohio to help respond, cleanup and recovery efforts and coordinate activities.
"I'm very concerned with the problems created by the combination of power outages and severe heat, and so I've declared an emergency for all of Ohio so that state resources and personnel can help local governments meet the needs and challenges that they face. Ohioans in affected areas should, if possible, stay tuned to their radios or TVs for information on where they can go for assistance. Those without power can call their local 211 numbers for information on where to turn for help. Folks should also knock on their neighbors' doors to make sure they're ok and look out for those who they know might need some extra help. Together we'll get through this," said Kasich.
Kasich has directed Ohio Emergency Management Agency Executive Director Nancy Dragani to open the state's Emergency Operations Center in Columbus to coordinate state and local resources. Officials from all state agencies, volunteer organizations such as Citizen Corps and the American Red Cross are converging at the Emergency Operations Center to monitor response and recovery efforts within the affected areas.
State agencies supporting the response efforts include the, Ohio Departments of Transportation, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Health, Public Safety, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.