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Berkeley County helping residents to prepare for disaster

September 03, 2009|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Basic instructions for how residents can prepare themselves to endure a possible emergency, disaster or outbreak of influenza, such as Swine flu, will be distributed each Saturday in September outside the Target store near Martinsburg as part of National Preparedness Month.

"We welcome the opportunity to meet with the public to answer questions and also provide materials to adults, which can help with their planning processes and also information for children so they can be part of the process too," Stephen S. Allen, director of the Berkeley County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management said in a news release.

The materials will be distributed from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday. Allen said the county's hazardous materials response unit will be stationed outside the store.

Allen's agency is partnering with the Berkeley County Health Department and Local Emergency Planning Committee and Target for the informational events.

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"I'd love to run out of (the informational materials)," Allen said in an interview.

Diana Gaviria, the county's health officer, said their focus as part of this year's event will be the potential impact of influenza on families.

"The Berkeley County Health Department and Eastern Panhandle Medical Reserve Corps are happy to participate in the "Ready" campaign for National Preparedness Month to help provide vital flu preparedness information to the citizens of Berkeley County," Gaviria said in the news release.

Allen said in an interview that he Target partnership could be repeated with other businesses in the community.

"Target is a good partner for us," Allen said.

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