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Seeking answers about disaster plan

July 20, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

Randolph County emergency planners and county commissioners aren't denying there were problems getting out information following the June 29 storm. Still, that doesn't keep residents from - rightly so - seeking answers and demanding action to be prepared for the next disaster.

These comments and concerns come in social circles and public forums, such as Thursday's County Commission meeting. The theme is the same: no one knew what to do or where to go for help. Plus, they're still carrying the worries of the "what ifs" and what will, or won't, happen in the future.

"What if someone had died?" Donna Santee of Beverly asked at the County Commission meeting.

Officials are listening and they're ready to listen to even more. An after action meeting is planned for 6 p.m. Aug. 1 at Elkins High School. Commission President Mike Taylor said a panel of experts will be available to answer questions. Marvin Hill, director of the Randolph County Office of Emergency Management, and 911 Director Jim Wise say they'll have comments to add during the meeting, too. Taylor also says the Commission is committed to emergency resources as funds become available.

All this is well and good, but ... . It's always what you don't know that hurts you, and that's exactly what happened in the days following June 29. Residents said they didn't know where to find ice, water, gasoline or other items they needed, so some of them went without. Emergency planners said they didn't know of needs for shelters, so they didn't open them. Everyone was relying on someone else for information and no one heard a sound.

Making a plan is a good idea. Taking action on it is a better idea. Having a plan B - C, D or E - is even better.



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