Portage County is closing out National Preparedness Month with the launch of some new online and social media resources aimed at helping residents prepare for and survive emergencies.

At a special event earlier this week at the Emergency Operations Center in Ravenna, the county’s collegiate mascots even teamed up to demonstrate how to build a home emergency kit for disasters.

The kit — compiled by Flash from Kent State University, Terrier from Hiram College, and Nate, the new whale mascot for the Northeast Ohio Medical University — was donated to Freedom House, a residential facility for veterans in Kent.

Among the new resources announced by the Portage County Commissioners is Portage Prepares, which is using social media to get the word out.

The county’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management at www.co.portage.oh.us/portageprep includes print education material.

The program also has a Portage Prepares page on Facebook and will be tweeting at @PortagePrep.

“Residents can go to the online site any time to see the latest information about how to be safe and prepare for the types of emergencies that occur here in Northeast Ohio,” local homeland security interim director Annette Petranic said.

In nonemergency times, the sites will teach residents how to build a home emergency kit, make a family plan and learn more about the types of disasters seen in Portage County.

During disasters, the sites will coordinate communications from various sources.

The first Portage Prepares newsletters are already up and talk about how to prevent the spread of the flu as well as how to survive weather-related disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

“They are one-page lessons on how to keep you and your family safe during different types of emergencies from the flu to a tornado,” said newsletter designer Becky Lehman of the Portage County Health Department.

Those without Internet access can receive the newsletter by calling 330-297-3607 to request a copy.

A collaborative project by county and city agencies and volunteers, Portage Prepares will introduce a new edition of the newsletter on a regular basis.

Paula Schleis can be reached at 330-996-3741 or pschleis@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/paulaschleis.