Officials Urge Residents to be Prepared for Emergencies

Shawnee Moran, Times West Virginian, Fairmont | September 16, 2015

National Preparedness Month helps to educate the public and helps people prepare for emergencies that may occur in the community, including natural disasters like floods, extreme winters and power outages.

That’s why officials say it’s important to always have a plan and to be prepared.

September marks the 12th annual National Preparedness Month. This annual campaign is hosted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

National Preparedness Month helps to educate the public and helps people prepare for emergencies that may occur in the community, including natural disasters like floods, extreme winters and power outages.

Jamie Moore, the public health emergency programs coordinator for the Marion County Health Department, said this awareness is important.

He said there are many ways people can educate themselves about what to do when a disaster strikes. He said people can get information through government agencies and by searching the Internet to make a plan.
Moore said having a family emergency plan is beneficial in the event that an emergency does occur and family members are separated.

Another way families can prepare for disasters is by making an emergency preparedness kit.

“When you become educated and you start getting the information that you need, one of the first things you are going to find is a list of things to put together for an emergency kit. That’s one of the simplest ways to prepare for disasters,” he said.

These kits should be filled with basic necessities like food, water, a radio, extra batteries, a flashlight and extra cash.

Moore said adding personalized items — like medications and important documents — will also come in handy. He said people with pets and babies should also think about their needs when packing an emergency kit.

“Most of us, we’re lucky we haven’t been involved in any big disasters that would cause us to lose our home or anything like that,” he said. “But we’ve all been involved in power outages, and from time to time the water will go off or we’ll have a bad snowstorm. So being prepared for those are things you need in your kit as well.”

He said as the seasons change, people should think about items their emergency kits may need. For example, going into the fall and winter season, people should have blankets and clothes to help stay warm in the cold if the power happens to go out.

Moore said even though September is designated as a preparedness month, people should really be prepared for a disaster year-round.

He said another good way to educate yourself is to attend the third annual Marion County Preparedness Expo. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Middletown Mall.

“It is an excellent opportunity to get a bunch of knowledge in one location and to be able to walk through and not only collect information, but see some of the things taking place,” he said. “It’s just a huge source of information that comes to be at the Middletown Mall for that one day. It just makes everything really convenient to get started.”

Moore said the Marion County Health Department will offer flu shots at the preparedness expo. The cost for the flu shot is $30, cash or check. He also said they will bill insurance companies, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, PEIA, The Health Plan, UnitedHealthCare, Coventry Health Care of West Virginia, West Virginia Medicaid, Medicare Part B and Humana.
———

©2015 the Times West Virginian (Fairmont, W. Va.)

Visit the Times West Virginian (Fairmont, W. Va.) at www.timeswv.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutube

Comments are closed.