Local emergency management director talks importance of preparedness during Emergency Preparedness Month

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PRINCETON, WV (WVNS) — September is Emergency Preparedness Month and here in the Mountain State, we are no strangers to wild weather and natural disasters.

Flooding, landslides, and snow storms are just a few of the disasters that can hit West Virginia at any time. Those who call this place home know all too well how things can go from bad to worse if you’re not prepared.

“Flooding obviously between these mountains is a huge thing here. And our winter time, sometimes in the past we’ve had harsher winters than obviously others and both of those bring on power outages,” Keith Gunnoe, the Mercer County Emergency Management Director, said.

Our daily lives are dependent on electricity, hot meals, and running water, but in the event of a disaster when those things are not available, we are still expected to survive.

“FEMA and the Federal Government expect us, as citizens, to at least be prepared to sustain ourselves at least for a period of 72 hours,” said Gunnoe.

So what do we need to last until help arrives?

“Blankets, obviously. You would want some food, stuff that you could eat that didn’t have to be cooked. MRE’S, they make a lot of emergency food kits that you can purchase. You want flashlights and extra batteries,” said Gunnoe.

Portable chargers for phones and electronic devices, matches and lighters are on the list, too. Gunnoe said Emergency Preparedness is broken up into four parts: Make a plan, build a kit, low cost preventative methods like weather apps or weather radio, and lastly, sitting down with your family and establishing that plan. He said it’ is better to be prepared and safe than sorry.

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