Shown above is a common scene throughout Taylor County after the storm of June 29, 2012. In addition to trees down throughout the community, and electric off throughout much of the area, lines at gas stations were outrageous. These are all issues being discussed at the LEPC.
GRAFTON – The Local Emergency Preparedness Committee (LEPC) met again last Monday evening in the Mary Battle Room at Grafton High School. The meeting was called by Mark Knotts, the local Director of Emergency Management, to allow all county stakeholders and citizens the opportunity to submit their after action reports concerning the storm on June 29, 2012.
“The key to tall of this is to say, this is what we did. This is what worked well. And this is where we can improve,” commented Mike Walker.
Knotts announced during the meeting that he would go ahead and submit the after action reports that he had already received, hoping to get the rest of them before the deadline. Knotts also noted, that the citizens of Taylor County who suffered loss during the storm, need to file reports with Fema. He explained that these reports will help the community get as much aid as possible.
“Even if their insurance paid for the repairs, we need it submitted, so that FEMA has a record, and data to substantiate our needs,” remarked Knotts.
Knotts asks, even if was just a shingle that blew off of the roof, that every citizen file a report. The reports can be filed by calling Mark Knotts at 304-612-5352.
Knotts wants to clarify that filling out the reports does not mean that anyone is going to get a check. However, it does mean that the county has more of a chance of getting the assistance it needs to prepare for future events.
Taylor County Commissioner David “Rusty” Efaw was present for Monday night’s meeting. He suggested that a continuing announcement be made as to what locations are designated emergency shelters. He noted that during the June 29 storm, many lost power, and could not see the announcements being posted on TV, or Facebook.
Concerning shelters, Efaw suggested, “we need to concentrate on our schools.”
Knotts responded to Efaw suggestion by noting that the schools are not equipped to be generator backup. “In other areas, they were having to knock holes through the walls and run a wire directly into the fuse panel,” noted Knotts.
Both men agreed that they believed that the Superintendent of schools, Bob Maynard, was very easy to work with, and that the suggestion needed made to get each of the schools equipped with a generator hookup.
Efaw also noted that the commission sent letters to each of the public service districts, inquiring how many pumping stations were in each system, and thus how many generators were needed to power those stations.
“It is possible to survive a day, or so, without electric, as long as you have water,” commented Efaw.
He noted that Southwestern had eight locations, while the Taylor County PSD reported four to six, and that although he had no final report, that he was sure of four in the Haymond area.
“There are several areas that don’t have water, if they don’t have electric,” noted Efaw.
In addition to discussing electric and water loss, Knotts noted that new MOUS (memorandum of understanding) needs to be established. Areas in which MOUS needs established, or updated, include: Board of Education (for shelters), Grafton City Hospital, grocery stores, churches, newspaper, gas stations, state road, as well as, local governments.
In discussing issues concerning fuel shortages during the storm, Efaw suggested that muels reflect that the Department of Highways and Board of Education, as government agencies, be used to help supplement emergency fuel as needed. Efaw went on to clarify that after the storm is over, each agency could replenish the resources as needed.
Before leaving the meeting, Efaw noted that both the city and the county are trying to find ways to better provide for future events.
Efaw also noted, “The citizens know that everyone will do what they can to take care of them, but we need to help the citizens to be self-prepared.”
Knotts then noted that both FEMA and ready.gov have guidelines for disaster kits that can be very useful.
Items recommended for a basic emergency supply kit can be found on this page at left.
As residents of the county work with emergency responders, the county will truly be ready for future storms.