Meteorologist Jay Berschback speaks at TRU Safety Conference

May 7, 2024 | Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

Tammi Donaldson and Julie Reynolds of Ohio BWC, Jessica Grzechowiak of Ottawa County Safety Council and OCIC, and Jay Berschback of 13abc pose for a photo during the TRU Safety Council. (Submitted photo)


The inaugural TRU Safety Conference was held on Wednesday, May 1 at the Catawba Island Club. The conference kicked off with a keynote breakfast featuring Jay Berschback, Chief Meteorologist with 13abc Action News.

Nearly 60 attendees participated in the hour-long session on Extreme Weather Preparedness. Jay spoke on the importance of weather safety and knowing what to do in the event of severe heat, ice storms, tornadoes, thunderstorms and more.

When speaking about tornadoes, Jay noted that Ohio normally sees about 18-20 per year. He hit home on the importance of taking care of yourself and what to do if you’re near a tornado with little protection.

“If you’re in a ditch, think of it like a bathtub,” Berschback said. “All the debris is flying horizontally above you, and you’re given that little bit of protection. It’s not perfect, but maybe a last resort.”

He also mentioned ways to receive communication in the event of severe weather, including a NOAA Weather Radio and wireless emergency apps and alerts including 13abc First Alert Weather.

Throughout the day, attendees participated in numerous safety sessions that focused on wellness, workplace violence, heat stress, agricultural safety and the harmful effects of silica.

The US Coast Guard brought attendees out to their boat for a tour. (Submitted photo)

“We wanted to make sure we had diverse topics for attendees,” said Jessica Grzechowiak of the Ottawa County Safety Council. “From the feedback I’ve received, each session provided a lot of valuable information and additional resources that will help workers protect themselves and their colleagues.”

TRU Safety Conference was put on by the Ottawa County Safety Council and the Northern Ohio Chapter of American Society of Safety Professionals.

During the boating safety session, officers of the United States Coast Guard stationed in Marblehead spoke about emergency equipment, weather awareness and boat maintenance to prevent accidents or mishaps on the water. The Coast Guard also moored in a 45-foot boat that participants toured. The boat is used for conducting patrols and trainings, as well as responding to emergencies on Lake Erie.

The SPARK Force One Electrical training trailer was displayed outside and put on by OhioEdison safety personnel. Attendees witnessed what happens when various objects meet 7,200 volts of electricity. The live wire electrical distribution trailer featured energized electrical wires, utility poles and transformers.

“We thought this would be a great opportunity for the students of the Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy to attend the event,” Grzechowiak said. “One of the students demonstrated how to exit a vehicle that came in contact of an electrical wire, and jump clear of it to avoid getting shocked.”

“It was a well-organized conference filled with informative speakers, and I wish it could’ve been longer,” said Ken Finley with V+A Risk Services. “I would definitely attend this event again. The venue was spectacular, and we would be happy to be involved next year.”

V+A Risk Services was one of the sponsors for this year’s conference.

Sponsoring individuals and organizations included Bassett’s Market, USG, Catawba Island Club, Signature Label, Graymont, Chief Kenan Mylander, Magruder Hospital, Chipmatic, LogistiQ and V+A Risk Services. For more information about the TRU Safety Conference, visit

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May 2024

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