Those in attendance at the Emergency Preparedness event at Fairmont State University browse the different exhibits.
FAIRMONT — Dozens of exhibits and stations were set up around Fairmont State University’s Falcon Center Saturday morning for an event focused on emergency preparedness, with coordinators hoping to boost self-reliance and self-sufficiency in the community.
Whether it be a hurricane, flood, mass shooting or other scenario, officials at the event, including Jennifer Hansen who helped coordinate everything with her husband, said that people need to be prepared for the worst.
“This is basically a way for people to prepare for a disaster that is going to happen at some point,” Hansen said. “You don’t know where or when or what kind of disaster, but you need to be prepared for it with skills, 72-hour kits or whatever you may need.”
Spread throughout and outside the Falcon Center, different stations gave those in attendance a crash course on different skills, from wilderness survival to Dutch oven cooking and bottling or canning one’s own produce.
Hansen said that one of the most important things to have in one’s possession is a 72-hour kit made up of food, water, clothes, medicine and anything else one would need in a pinch.
“It’s everything you would need to survive for 72 hours,” Hansen said. “Typically, in most disasters, it’ll take around 72 hours to get aid in. It’s a methodical, long process. … You can always have it in your car, and it’s something to just grab and go.”
Several county organizations, such as the Marion County Humane Society, were also in attendance, giving passersby information they could use in the event of an emergency or disaster.
Hoping to boost communication between the community and police, Fairmont Police Department patrolman Moses Perry was set up outside with his patrol car, giving people a chance to interact with a policeman outside of an emergency situation.
“I’m just trying to talk to people in the community and get them comfortable interacting with me, especially with the youth,” Perry said. “I want them to feel like police officers are someone they can turn to if they have a problem.”
Perry said that preparing oneself for an emergency is crucial, because, while the police and other emergency services do what they can, emergencies and disasters that affect many people make the situation harder to control.
“We definitely do our best, but every community is much bigger than the police department that serves it,” Perry said. “We can’t be everywhere at once. People need to be able to help themselves. As you start getting out throughout the county, response times get longer and longer, so the more prepared people can be to deal with emergencies, the safer they’ll be.
“Even if we were within city limits and had some sort of mass casualty incident, resources get stretched thin, so the more prepared the community is to be self-reliant and self-sufficient, the safer they’ll be.”
Hansen said that, while one doesn’t necessarily need to prepare for the end of the world, everyone should know basic survival skills, because they can be needed in a moment’s notice.
“I don’t think anybody is immune to disaster, and we’ve discovered that in the last 10 years,” Hansen said. “There are all kinds of needs for us to know, and we need to have on hand what we need to survive until help can arrive.”
Staff writer John Mark Shaver can be reached at 304-844-8485 or email@example.com.