The Jackson County Office of Emergency Services and the West Virginia Ready program encourage all citizens to be prepared for an emergency – floods, severe weather, power outages, etc.

This month, we have witnessed hurricane Dorian and the devastation it caused, and now Texas with torrential rainfall causing massive flooding. We are fortunate in our geographic location from the devastation of the tremendous winds of a hurricane. However, we have experienced disasters in this state from floods, severe weather, high winds (derecho), power outages, ice and snow storms, and tornadoes.

The Jackson County Commission wants everyone to be safe and enjoy the many opportunities offered in the county and state. Natural or man-made disasters can occur unexpectedly with or without warning. Jackson County First Responders (Fire, Police, EMS, etc.) during a disaster or major emergency may not reach you quickly because they may be delayed due to numerous calls for assistance. The most important step for you is your family’s safety, and BEING PREPARED will enhance your safety, not later but now. So please consider the following information:

Stay informed. Know your alerts and warnings. With today’s cell phone technology, you can sign-up for Heads Up Community with Mass Notify. Heads Up is free and you can download the app by going to the App Store or Google Play. No personal or location information about a user is collected. For additional information on preparing for safety, you can go on the internet and visit FEMA.gov.

Make-a-Plan: Develop a plan for the family. Know what you are going to do if an emergency should happen. Your plan should answer the following: How you will contact one another? How you will get-back together? What you will do in case of an emergency? What type of emergencies should you expect? What supplies do I need for the family that will last at least 72 hours including medications?

Build a Kit: Keep enough supplies such as water, nonperishable food, first aid kit, medications, flashlight, and a battery-powered radio. This kit will be important in meeting the 72 hours threshold during the emergency or disaster. If you have a pet don’t forget their supplies.

Emergency power source has become a vital part of preparing for power outages. If you have an emergency generator permanently installed or portable generator for use keep it in good running condition. When operating a portable generator do not place it indoors or a garage. Carbon monoxide is a by-product of the exhaust and it is a killer. Always operate the portable generator outside of your home.

Nothing can be more important than being prepared for the emergency. People have asked why 72 hours is important. During a major emergency or disaster, the necessary survey of the damages, submission of the data to the state for preparing a declaration for federal assistance normally takes 72 hours. When a declaration is declared by the President federal resources can be made available. This process takes time and to ensure your safety during the process – you need to be prepared!