From the State of Ohio Emergency Operations Center, Governor Bob Taft on Tuesday declared emergencies in 20 counties and will be submitting a request for a Presidential Emergency Declaration for assistance to public entities most affected by the recent severe winter storm.
“I commend Ohioans for the patience, compassion and spirit of cooperation shown during this severe winter storm that has affected so many,” said Taft. “We have been working closely with the utilities and local public safety personnel who have performed an extraordinary job under tremendous pressure to open roads, restore power and return to normal.”
Beginning Wednesday, Dec. 22 and ongoing, massive power outages, ice, and heavy snowfall impacted the following counties: Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Delaware, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Hardin, Holmes, Licking, Logan, Madison, Miami, Montgomery, Preble, Shelby, Warren and Union. Taft’s declaration, based on snow levels and local government needs, permits the state to help declared counties with the emergency.
The declared counties can request services such as debris removal from the Ohio Departments of Transportation, Natural Resources, and Rehabilitation and Corrections. It also allows the Governor to request a Presidential emergency declaration through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which would allow local and state governmental entities and qualified non-profit organizations to be reimbursed up to 75 percent of their cost for eligible emergency expenses from the recent winter storm. Examples of these costs include overtime for public safety forces, rental of equipment, removal of health and safety hazards, activation of National Guard troops and other costs directly related to protecting public health and safety.
Other state assets that have been mobilized include the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which will continue to assist with traffic control. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring storm sewers and debris disposal, and the Ohio Emergency Management Agency is coordinating the state’s response from the state’s assessment room and will facilitate damage assessments.
On Dec. 23, Gov. Taft declared a state of emergency for Montgomery County, allowing the Ohio National Guard to support snow clearing efforts in the Dayton Area. The Ohio EMA continues to communicate with county emergency management agencies in assessing the cost of emergency protective measures and coordinate state resources as needed. Additional counties could be added to the Governor’s request as unmet needs are identified.
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