PINEVILLE —The UK Cooperative Extension Service held a meeting Monday morning regarding disasters and emergencies in the area. There to assist during the meeting was Paul Wilson, Director of Bell County Emergency Management.
The focal point of the discussion was on preparing for certain disasters and emergencies. The group looked at several possible disasters including floods, tornadoes, winter storms, and extreme heat.
According to Wilson, each family should have a plan in case of such an emergency. Families should have two meeting places in the case of an emergency. One should be near the home in case of a fire, and the second location should be outside the neighborhood in case family members cannot return home.
Wilson talked about basic emergency supply kits that families should have for emergency situations. Emergency kits should include water (one gallon per person, per day), food, battery-powered or hand crank radio, flashlight and extra batteries, first aid kit, whistle to signal for help, dust mask, moist towelettes, garbage bags, wrench or plies to turn off utilities, can opener for food, and local maps.
An evacuation plan was also a topic of discussion during the meeting. Families should identify places they might go in the case of an emergency. Families should have several evacuation routes in place as well.
Bell County does have some emergency shelters in case of a disaster. The Bell County Courthouse is one place citizens can go to take shelter from severe weather, according to Wilson.
Bell County also uses a reverse 911 call in the event that severe weather is approaching. In the past, there have been shelters set up throughout the county after a disaster occurred.
The Salvation Army has a mobile canteen that can also be used during emergency situations, and it can be taken to the area(s) hit by the disaster.
Tips on to to react and stay safe during certain severe weather condictions were also given during the meeting. When it comes to thunderstorms, you should always seek shelter inside a home, large building, or a nonconvertible vehicle. People should also avoid using the telephone - except for emergencies - during thunderstorms. If caught in an open area, you should go to a low place such as a ravine or valley.
In the event of a tornado, people should get to the lowest level of a home or building. Interior closets, bathrooms, and hallways are good if you do not have a basement. It was also stated that in case of a tornado warning or watch, you should leave a mobile home and seek substantial shelter. It was also mentioned that there are hurricane straps that can be purchased for mobile homes, but damage can still be done to the structure in the event of a tornado.
Flash flooding can occur quickly. If a flash flood warning is issued that means that a flash flood is occurring. In this case you should seek higher ground and be alert to the conditions. If one is driving, you should avoid dips, low spots, and canyons that are subject to flooding, and never cross a flowing stream during flooding.