Inaugural TRU Safety Conference Held

Posted on: May 3, 2024

The inaugural TRU Safety Conference was held on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at the Catawba Island Club. The conference kicked off with a keynote breakfast featuring Jay Berschback, Chief Meteorologist with 13abc Action News.

Jay Berschback, Chief Meteorologist of 13abc, was the Keynote Speaker at this years’ TRU Safety Conference.

Keynote Breakfast Featuring Jay Berschback

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

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.

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,” stated Berschback. “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.

Safety Sessions

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.

Tim Dimoff, former Detective, presented Violence in the Workplace.

“We wanted to make sure we had diverse topics for attendees,” stated 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.

U.S. Coast Guard Boat Tour

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 US Coast Guard brought attendees out to their boat for a tour.

“It’s been fantastic, this event was right up our alley,” commented Donnie Guest and Matt Horner of Kalahari Resorts and Conventions. “The active shooter session was very informative. And Jay’s presentation was really good, especially since I’m a huge Michigan fan,” laughed Guest.

Spark Force One Trailer Demonstration

The SPARK Force One Electrical training trailer was held 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 features energized electrical wires, utility poles and transformers.

Attendees observe the SPARK FORCE ONE electrical trailer demonstration.

“We thought this would be a great opportunity for the students of the Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy to attend the event,” mentioned Grzechowiak. “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.”

Gage Johnson (right) of the Ottawa County Skilled Trades Academy looks on as one of the OhioEdison’s safety personnel speaks.

“It was a well-organized conference filled with informative speakers and I wish it could’ve been longer,” commented 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 years’ conference.

Thank You Sponsors

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