Keeping the lights on in Harman

Members of the Randolph County Commission took action Tuesday to ensure residents in the eastern part of the county have a place to go when the power goes out.

At a special meeting, the commission approved partnering with Pendleton Community Care – which recently opened Harman Health Center in Harman – to purchase a 60-kilowatt generator that will service both the Harman Health Center and the Randolph County Senior Center nutrition site in Harman.

Should disaster strike, the Randolph County Senior Center nutrition site is one of two designated emergency shelters in the Harman area; the Harman Volunteer Fire Department functions as the second emergency shelter site.

Randolph County Commission President Chris See said the commission had originally planned to install a 35-kilowatt generator at the Harman area senior center. However, given the Harman Health Center’s close proximity to the senior center, the commission opted to partner with Pendleton Community Care to upgrade to a 60-kilowatt generator that will service both facilities.

The commission will contribute $16,450 to the project, and Pendleton Community Care will foot the remaining $29,000 portion of the bill.

County Commissioner Mike Taylor said Randolph residents will be the beneficiaries of the arrangement.

“The thing I like about it is you have a health care facility and a shelter right next to each other,” Taylor said, “so people who are on oxygen or people who have other health needs can go right over and get a hot meal, get warm, get cool. That’s right next door.”

In an effort to improve emergency preparedness in the wake of the June 29 derecho and Superstorm Sandy, in 2012, the commission voted to purchase and install generators for all Randolph County fire departments so that every department could operate as an emergency shelter. (However, the Randolph County Senior Center nutrition site in Mill Creek will operate as an emergency shelter in lieu of the Huttonsville/Mill Creek Volunteer Fire Department, due to a manpower shortage at the fire department.)

The Randolph County Commission’s next regular meeting is slated for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 7.

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