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What If?

By Staff | Jan 15, 2014

The West Virginia Water Crisis, as we have seen the recent events and state of emergency in nine counties in and around the Kanawha Valley called, will hopefully be a wake up call to many in so many ways.

The fact that a chemical, 4-methylcyclohexane methanol, was able to leak into the Elk River and then get into water systems without timely warning is obviously a big issue. While that is certainly an issue that should be examined, and we are sure it is and will be for quite some time, we prefer to think of such things on a more individual basis-because that is where we can exert more control.

We can’t usually control a crisis, but we can control our reaction and our preparedness. Besides, some crises are not preventable. Sometimes they are acts of nature. Sometimes they are acts of terrorism. Sometimes they are just accidents.

While none of the water systems in Wetzel County come from the Ohio River, the fact remains that it would be possible to be without water for a time for any number of reasons. If that would happen, would you be prepared?

Emergency experts say to be fully prepared for an emergency, a household should have one gallon of water for every person in your household for each day. The general rule of thumb is to be prepared to wait out a disaster or emergency for three days.

You should have at least a three-day supply of food for each person in your household. Food should be non-perishable and not have to be refrigerated. Examples include canned soups, dry cereals, and peanut butter. But be sure to have a manual can opener as many non-perishable foods come in cans. You may also want to keep cups, plates, utensils and paper towels with your supplies.

Other necessities include battery-powered or hand-crank radios, flashlights, extra batteries, a first aid kid that includes any needed prescriptions and supplies such as insulin and needles.

Plastic sheeting with duct tape can be used to cover your home’s windows and doors in case outdoor air is contaminated with debris or chemicals. The plastic sheeting will make a barrier between you and the harmful air outside.

Moist wipes and garbage bags with plastic ties can be used for sanitation and hygiene purposes in case sewage and water systems no longer work.

And finally, household bleach and a medicine dropper as an emergency water disinfectant kit. You can it to treat water by using 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe, or bleaches with added cleaners.

Finally, know how to shut off your gas, water, and electric in the event that it is necessary during a state of emergency.

These tips were provided by the West Virginia University Extension Office. More emergency preparedness information can be found online at ext.wvu.edu

What if. . . you’re prepared?