Healthy Cleveland: Summer Preparedness

By: Taylor Eppinger

Summer has arrived in Cleveland, but before we let the fun begin, we need to be prepared and safe. TV20 Host, Leah Longbrake sat down with Shaddy Swade, Project Director for the Cleveland Department of Public Health’s Office of Emergency Preparedness, to discuss how to be prepared this summer.

Summer Weather Preparedness


As rare as they are in Cleveland, if there is a tornado, it’s not safe to watch it. You should take cover in a basement or inner portion of a house instead. If you don’t have a basement, take cover in an inner portion of your house such as a hallway with no windows. Staying down and letting the tornado or storm pass is one of the best things you could do.

Lightning storm

If you are caught in a lighting storm while driving or outside, stay away from tall trees, metal objects, or accumulating water and seek shelter.


There will most likely be flooded areas and if there are, do not try to drive through the water. Go to a high, dry place to avoid the rising waters. If the seconds between thunder and lightning are less than 30 seconds, go inside and let the storm pass.

Ready in 3

A “Ready in 3” plan is very important to have during these emergencies.

First, you need to have a kit. This kit should include: band-aids, flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, and additional items that are important for emergencies.

Second, you need to have a plan. This plan should include a safe place where your family knows where to meet if you can’t communicate with each other. It should include ways to rescue someone in and escape routes.

Third, you need to listen for information from the radio, television, or other news sources. It’s important that you are aware to stay safe.

Summer Activity Preparedness

Sunscreen, bug spray, & water

To prepare for summer activities, it is very important to have sunscreen or sunblock to avoid getting sunburned. The higher the SPF number, the better the sunscreen is. You should apply it 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply it every 2 hours. Most people don’t apply sunscreen on the back of their neck, behind the knees, or elbows, but it is important to apply it on these parts too.

To prevent dehydration, it’s important to drink a lot of water instead of caffeine and alcohol if you’re outside. You should also wear bug spray to avoid diseases that some bugs may carry.

Boat Safety

If you are driving a boat, don’t drink and drive, have a rescue plan, and watch for other boats as well. Check the equipment of the boat and make sure that the engine is good and that there isn’t any issues with the carbon monoxide coming from the engine. It is very important that there are coast guard approved life jackets onboard for every adult. If there are children onboard, they must wear it the entire time they’re on the boat.

Food safety

Meat and fish naturally have bacteria, so it’s important to handle the food in a safe manor. You should be hygienic, cleaning as you go, and constantly washing your hands in between steps while preparing these foods. It is important that you don’t leave raw food items sitting out and that you clean your grill before and after it is used.

You should let hot foods cool before it is put inside a refrigerator and don’t let food sit out for more than 4 hours. Cooking food all the way through is important too. Taking these precautions can help prevent cross contamination and illnesses.

Heat disorders

  • Heat stroke
  • Heat exhaustion
  • Heat cramps
  • Sunburn
  • Heat rash

It is important that during the hot sunny days of Summer, that you don’t leave kids in the car. Make sure to check on the kids, elders, and pets and that they stay hydrated. If you’re outside for a long period of time, don’t over exert yourself. Go inside for at least 20 minutes to cool off.

Don’t forget that a “Ready in 3” plan applies to summer activities too!

Summer is a very fun time, but it is important to be prepared and safe. If you take precautions, the fun can last longer!

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