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Are You Ready For The Next Crisis?

Reported: May. 19, 2014 7:01 PM EDT
Updated: May. 20, 2014 10:07 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Chris Williams) -- Heavy rain, high water, and no power was the result of the derecho two years ago.

For people who weren't prepared, the derecho left behind more than just storm damage.

"I lost my freezer. I lost everything in the freezer. Two freezers, my refrigerator," said James Holbert, who remembers being without power for two weeks during the derecho.

After that storm, James Holbert said he had enough. That is why he decided to buy a generator. He said it's one of the best decisions he has ever made, but not everyone is prepared for the next big storm. The Red Cross said getting ready for the unknown can be done in three simple steps.

"Get a kit, make a plan, and be informed," said Erica Mani, chief executive officer of the American Red Cross West Virginia Region.

Mani said that is being Red Cross ready. Everyone should have a kit with supplies to last at least three days. You can put anything you like in the kit, but here are a few things experts say are must haves:

* Non-perishable food
* One gallon of water per day, per person
* Hand crank radio
* Flashlight and extra batteries
* First-aid kit, including a seven-day supply of your medication
* Important papers
* Extra cash
* Local maps
* Can opener

Mani said you should make two of these kits, one for your car, and other for your house. She also said you should have two plans in case of an emergency.

"They should be encouraged to practice a plan with families. You have a meeting place. One that is in your neighborhood and one that is outside of your neighborhood, in case you are evacuated," Mani said.

Some disasters, such as the water crisis earlier this year, come out of nowhere. That is why experts say planning is so important. In Cross Lanes, there is Keller Survival. The store’s owner said more West Virginians are starting to make survival kits.

"People who weren't so much concerned, even after the derecho, the water crisis has made people much more aware," said Bob Keller, owner of Keller Survival.

When you make your kit, you can put it inside anything you like. Mani suggests something that is strong and weather proof. Holbert said he learned his lesson the hard way. He has even started adding more to his kit.

"We keep bottled water, a case of bottled water, and stuff on hand, lights," Holbert said.

The Red Cross has classes on how to get started making your kit. For more information, check out its website here.



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