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Department of Commerce Emphasizes Manufactured Home Safety Following Severe Weather Outbreak

COLUMBUS, Ohio – As Ohioans spend Severe Weather Awareness Week (March 17-23) continuing to clean up and assess damage from last week’s devastating storms, the Ohio Department of Commerce’s Division of State Fire Marshal and Manufactured Homes Program say this event serves as a stark reminder of how critical it is for everyone, including those who live in manufactured or mobile homes, to take necessary measures to ensure their safety in the event of severe weather.

Residents should pay close attention – and react swiftly – to all weather bulletins issued, including tornado watches and warnings. Every type of homeowner should be prepared for severe weather and have a plan to keep themselves safe. Individuals who live inside manufactured housing should make plans that include sheltering in a nearby safe room, underground storm shelter or a building that has a basement. Homeowners can turn weather alerts on their smartphone by following device instructions on how to alert them to tornado watches and warnings, specifically, for advanced notice of storms.

The Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness warns that mobile homes, including those equipped with tie-down systems, are unable to withstand the force of a tornado, as was the case in Logan County this past week. Significant storm damage was also reported at manufactured home parks located in Mercer, Preble and Darke Counties, among others.

“As evidenced by last week’s horrific tornadoes, it is so important that all Ohioans know what to do before, during, and after extreme weather events,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “While it’s important to be prepared all year long, Severe Weather Awareness Week is an ideal time to review and practice emergency plans to be prepared and stay safe.” 

To download a copy of Governor DeWine’s Severe Weather Proclamations, click here or visit the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness website.

According to the National Weather Service, approximately 72% of all tornado-related fatalities that occur in the United States involve individuals who are inside homes at the time of the event, with more than half of those fatalities involving individuals who are inside manufactured housing. In addition, individuals are 15 to 20 times more likely to die from a tornado event if they’re inside manufactured housing compared to a permanent structure.

Due to the significant risks that severe weather events can pose to Ohio communities, the Division of State Fire Marshal emphasizes the need for awareness, preparation, and the execution of proactive measures, such as the creation of emergency plans, to minimize the impact these natural disasters can have on our lives and properties.

“As we saw late last week, severe weather can happen anytime, anywhere,” said Ohio State Fire Marshal Chief Deputy Richard Sluder. “By the time a storm arrives at your doorstep, it’s too late to start preparing. That’s why we strongly urge all Ohioans to take time to think through and practice what they would do in the event of severe weather.”

If severe weather damages a home, residents are encouraged to contact their local safety officials and insurance company to determine best steps in beginning the cleanup and repair process. If a storm has caused a manufactured home to move from its foundation, residents are not permitted to occupy that home until it has been re-installed under a manufactured home installation permit and it has passed all required safety inspections. Information about the requirements for manufactured home installations (and re-installations) is available on the Manufactured Homes Program’s website.

Residents of manufactured home parks could face exposed power and gas lines, hazardous materials and generally unsafe environments when they return to their lot. This is why it’s important to stay in contact with local authorities and your park operator to know when it’s safe to return.

The Ohio Department of Commerce’s Manufactured Homes Program has jurisdiction over the installation of manufactured homes; the licensing and regulation of manufactured home park operators, installers, dealers, brokers, and salespersons; and the certification and regulation of manufactured home inspectors and inspection agencies.

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