When a disaster happens, emergency officials have to be ready for whatever is thrown at them.
That's why they hold several training exercises throughout the year to stay at the top of their game. On Thursday, officials from ten counties were taking part in a disaster drill. They were enacting a scenario that involved a mass evacuation from the Kanawha Valley.
"What we're doing it real world experience, setting up a temporary point for people to stay, rest up, and then travel on to a more permanent shelter location," said Bruce Minor, OEM Director in Pendleton County and the Public Information Officer for the drill.
The emergency officials took this drill from the beginning stages through the end to see what exactly they needed to improve on. That way, when there's a real emergency, they'll have most of the problems worked out.
"One thing you have to do is identify your problems and fix them before it's a real world situation, and that's basically what we've done all day. We identified we have problems getting our shelter over here, so we went and bought the items that we needed, that way we could respond to something like this. Thank god it was a drill instead of a real life event because we would have been delayed about an hour," said Cindy Hart, Director of the Barbour County OEM and 911 Center.
After several disasters last year, like the Derecho and Hurricane Sandy, everyone at Thursday's drill said it's even more important to be ready for whatever could happen in the future.
"I think it's paramount that we do this for everybody's safety and benefits. We can do this and do it well. The more we exercise, the better off we are," said Minor.
Not only will this allow the directors to be ready for any disaster, they'll also be able to take these lessons back to employees in their counties.
"We educate through public information, so we educate them. We bring them to training classes, try to involve them whenever we can," said Hart.