(02/19/2009)

LEPC group meets at Arnoldsburg to work on
disaster and emergency needs of Calhoun County

By Bob Weaver

Calhoun's Local Emergency Planning Committee [LEPC] is working on a number of projects that could benefit the community in times of disaster.

Kathy Wood, the county's OES Director, said trailers are being obtained for each end of the county for cots, blankets and emergency supplies to be used for local disasters and in a response to a mass migration from Washington DC in case of a terrorist attack.

Wood said one trailer is being purchased and a second is being donated by magistrate Rick Postalwait.

Wood said "Trying to obtain an electrical generator for the Grantsville Water Company is a critical need."

Ron Blankenship said one of the LEPC's duties is to try and see that water continue to flow through the public water lines if power grids go down.

Grantsville Mayor Gary Knight met with LEPC members regarding the water issues, saying he was concerned about water delivery during a disaster, in addition to other security issues related to the Grantsville plant.

Dave Sweeney, a coordinator for the WV Dept. of Military Affairs, advised LEPC members that funding is not currently available for purchasing such a large generator for the water plant.

Sweeney did tell OES Director Wood that $15,000-$20,000 will be made available through her office for county emergency services.

Woods asked that county firemen and other responders help her complete an audit of all emergency supplies currently stored in the county.

LEPC elected new officers, Kathy Wood, president; Bill Ellis, vice-president; Brady Whipkey, secretary and Tom Fox, treasurer.

Wood reminded the group of the importance of cooperation within the county regarding disasters and emergencies.

A new mobile 911 Emergency Radio Center is being equipped in a trailer already owned by the county, and will be ready to be placed into operation quickly if the main center goes down.

"We are isolated by crooked, two-lane roads and can easily be cut off from areas that would be willing to help us in troubled times," Woods concluded.


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