Homeland Security spreads word on emergency planning at Jefferson Co. Fair

August 21, 2008|By DAVE McMILLION

LEETOWN, W.Va. -- Yes, there have been the lawn-mower races, greased-pig contests and hay bale tosses.

But the Jefferson County Fair can be serious, too.

During the fair along Leetown Pike this week, the Jefferson County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management has been helping local residents set up disaster plans.

Although disaster planning is often associated with a possible terrorist attack, it is also vital to protect people in events like winter storms or floods, officials with the office said at a booth in Building 2 at the fair Wednesday night.

People have shown interest in the issue this week and the word is being spread a variety of ways, including coloring books for children and brochures written in Spanish for the local Hispanic population, said Terri Mehling, program manager.


The most basic emergency plans are designed to get people through three days of a disaster.

Items on the checklist include one gallon of water per person per day, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener.

"(And) you don't go to the drug store and buy the cheapest one you can get," John Sherwood, said of the can opener.

A 59-cent can opener is too likely to snap and break in a disaster, said Sherwood, chairman of a steering committee for the local emergency office.

Sherwood added other items to the list, like setting aside a 30-day supply of prescription medicines. It's important that vital items like medicines can be found quickly because "some of these disasters are get out, and get out quick," Sherwood said.

Mehling said her office will be glad to come to local organizations like homeowner associations to talk in-depth about emergency planning. She can be contacted at 304-728-3329.

The fair, which runs through Saturday, will feature the traditional South Jefferson Ruritan Club chicken barbecue Thursday and Friday.

The meal begins at 4 p.m., costs $8 and includes barbecue chicken, cole slaw, baked beans, roll, cake and tea or lemonade.

"We sell hundreds of dinners every year and people come from all over the area to enjoy our chicken barbecue," said Charlie Adams, a Jefferson County Fair director emeritus and Ruritan volunteer.

Basic emergency kit

A basic emergency supply kit includes:

o One gallon of water for every person for at least three days.

o At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food.

o Battery-powered or hand crank radio with a NOAA weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both.

o Flashlight and extra batteries.

o First-aid kit.

o Whistle to signal for help.

o Dust mask to filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to make a shelter.

o Moist towelettes and garbage bags for personal sanitation.

o Wrench to turn off utilities like a leaking propane tank.

o Can opener.

o Local maps.

More information can be found at

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