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Personal Safety & Crime Prevention

Cleveland Metroparks is a great place to enjoy nature and recreation. However, when in the Park District, remember to practice the same personal safety routines you would anywhere else.

If faced with an emergency, notify Ranger Headquarters immediately by calling 440-333-4911 or 911. Yellow emergency phones are located throughout the Park District, and will also connect you directly to Ranger Headquarters. If you spot a Park District employee, notify them of your situation as well. They will assist you in contacting a ranger for help.

  • Carry a cell phone in case of emergency.
  • Be aware of nearby people and vehicles.
  • If using headphones, let them hang around your neck. It's important to hear, as well as see, what's happening in the vicinity.
  • If it's necessary to call for help, be able to relay an exact location by knowing the nearest Park District area, intersection, or major landmark.
  • When possible, visit Cleveland Metroparks with a friend or in a group.
  • Avoid isolated areas. Keep roadways in sight, especially if alone.
  • Carry a whistle to make a loud noise in case of an emergency.
  • Always be observant, especially of suspicious people.
  • If someone becomes a crime victim, a good description will assist in identifying the attacker.
  • If a vehicle is involved in a crime, try to get the license plate number. It could prove essential in assisting the rangers' investigation.
  • If jogging along the parkway in dusk or dawn hours, wear bright-colored clothing or a reflective vest.
  • If bicycling on the parkway, ride with traffic in the right lane and obey traffic laws.

Child Safety

For a child, Cleveland Metroparks can be an enticing place to explore. It can also be a dangerous place to play. When in the Park District, parents should always know the whereabouts of their children. Parents should remember that while visiting Cleveland Metroparks they are responsible for the supervision of their own children.

  • Young children should never be allowed to venture off by themselves.
  • Keep close visual contact with children at all times, especially if a roadway or body of water is nearby.
  • Teach children they should never talk to strangers, or accept invitations to go anywhere with someone they don't know.
  • Educate children about rangers and police officers. Explain they are there to help, and it's okay for an officer to assist them.
  • Teach children how to contact help in an emergency, by calling 911 or 440-333-4911.

Vehicle Safety

When parking a vehicle in Cleveland Metroparks, try to follow these crime prevention tips:

  • Lock all valuables (purses, wallets, cameras, etc.) in the trunk before entering the Park District.
  • Lock car doors and close the windows after checking to make sure keys are removed from the vehicle.
  • Have keys ready when returning to the car.
  • In the event of vehicle trouble, contact Ranger Headquarters at 440-333-4911.
  • Before entering the Park District, only bring essentials like your keys, driver's license, and cell phone.
  • Engrave identification on items like cameras, portable electronic devices, and removable stereos.
  • Keep an updated record of serial numbers and credit card numbers at home. Have it available for rangers in the event of a theft.
  • Install a locking gas cap so a thief can't siphon gas.
  • Consider the use of a steering wheel lock, or install an alarm system.
  • Keep a pen and paper in the car for notes in the event of a crime.

Lightning & Thunderstorms: What You Need to Know

  • NO PLACE outside is safe when thunderstorms are in the area!!
  • If you hear thunder, lightning is close enough to strike you.
  • When you hear thunder, immediately move to safe shelter: a substantial building with electricity or plumbing or an enclosed, metal-topped vehicle with windows up.
  • Stay in safe shelter at least 30 minutes after you hear the last sound of thunder.

Last Resort Outdoor Risk Reduction Tips

If you are caught outside with no safe shelter anywhere nearby the following actions may reduce your risk:

  • Immediately get off elevated areas such as hills, mountain ridges or peaks
  • Never lie flat on the ground
  • Never shelter under an isolated tree
  • Never use a cliff or rocky overhang for shelter
  • Immediately get out and away from ponds, lakes and other bodies of water
  • Stay away from objects that conduct electricity (barbed wire fences, power lines, windmills, etc.

Flood safety

During a flood, water levels and the rate the water is flowing can quickly change. Remain aware and monitor local radio and television outlets. Avoid flood waters at all costs and evacuate immediately when water starts to rise. Don't wait until it's too late!

What is the difference between a Flood Watch and a Flood Warning issued by the National Weather Service?

  • Flash Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flash Flood Warning is issued when a flash flood is imminent or occurring. If you are in a flood prone area move immediately to high ground. A flash flood is a sudden violent flood that can take from minutes to hours to develop. It is even possible to experience a flash flood in areas not immediately receiving rain.
  • Flood Warning: Take Action! A Flood Warning is issued when the hazardous weather event is imminent or already happening. A Flood Warning is issued when flooding is imminent or occurring.
  • Flood Watch: Be Prepared:A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for a specific hazardous weather event to occur. A Flood Watch is issued when conditions are favorable for flooding. It does not mean flooding will occur, but it is possible.
  • Flood Advisory: Be Aware: An Flood Advisory is issued when a specific weather event that is forecast to occur may become a nuisance. A Flood Advisory is issued when flooding is not expected to be bad enough to issue a warning. However, it may cause significant inconvenience, and if caution is not exercised, it could lead to situations that may threaten life and/or property.

Tornado safety

  • The safest place to be is an underground shelter, basement or safe room.
  • If no underground shelter or safe room is available, a small, windowless interior room or hallway on the lowest level of a sturdy building is the safest alternative.
  • If you are caught outdoors, seek shelter in a basement, shelter or sturdy building.
  • If you cannot quickly walk to a shelter immediately get into a vehicle, buckle your seat belt and try to drive to the closest sturdy shelter. If you see large objects flying past while you are driving, pull over and park. You now have two choices:

What To Do If You're Caught in a Winter Storm

When caught in a winter storm, there are life saving actions you can take to protect yourself outside or in a vehicle


  • Find Shelter: Try to stay dry and cover all exposed body parts.
  • When There Is No Shelter Nearby: Build a lean-to, windbreak or snow cave for protection from the wind. Build a fire for heat and to attract attention. Place rocks around the fire to absorb and reflect heat.
  • Melt Snow for Drinking Water: Eating unmelted snow will lower your body temperature.
  • Exercise: From time to time, move arms, legs, fingers and toes vigorously to keep blood circulating and to keep warm. Avoid overexertion such as shoveling heavy snow, pushing a car or walking in deep snow if you are not in good health. The strain from the cold and the hard labor may cause a heart attack. Sweating could lead to a chill and hypothermia.

In Vehicles

If you must drive during a storm, take the following precautions:

  • Slow down! Even if the roads just look wet they could still be slick. More than 6,000 fatalities occur on the roadways each year due to weather conditions.
  • Make sure your vehicle is completely clear of ice or snow before starting the trip. Flying snow from cars causes accidents.
  • Let someone know where you are going and what route you will take. If something happens, this person will know where to start a search.
  • Don't leave the house without the following a fully charged mobile phone and car charger and a emergency supplies kit in your car.
  • If you are driving and begin to skid, remain calm, ease your foot off the gas and turn your wheels in the direction you want the front of the car to go. If you have an anti-lock braking system (ABS), apply steady pressure to the brake pedal. Never pump the brakes on an ABS equipped vehicle.
  • If you are having trouble seeing due to weather conditions, pull over to the side of the road and stop your car until visibility improves. Turn off your lights and use your parking break when stopped so that another car won't mistakenly follow your tail/brake lights and end up hitting you.

If your car gets stuck during a storm:

  • Stay in the vehicle!
  • Be visible to rescuers.

During a High Wind Event

Take Shelter

  • Immediately go inside a sturdy building during a high wind warning or severe thunderstorm warning and move to an interior room or basement.
  • Listen to the local news or NOAA Weather Radio for updates.

If Caught Outside or Driving

  • Take shelter in your car if you are not near a sturdy building. If possible, drive to a nearby sturdy building. Otherwise, move your car to a location where it is less likely to be hit by falling trees or powerlines.
  • If no shelter is available avoid trees, power lines, and the side of the road. Keep in mind that power lines that are laying on the ground may be live. Do not go near them! Try to find a place that will block blowing or falling debris.
  • If you are driving and aren't near a sturdy building, hold the steering wheel with both hands and slow down.