Preparations were well under way Monday in Barbour County Monday to ensure emergency teams and citizens are prepared for anything Hurricane Sandy could spin in this direction.
Local officials from a number of agencies gathered Sunday for a planning meeting, reviewing everything from water tanks and potential power outages to student safety at Alderson-Broaddus College.
"We have 600 students on the campus of A-B College, and our concern is power and the health and safety of the citizens," said Phil Hart, Barbour County Commission president and fire chief of Belington Volunteer Fire Department.
The city of Belington, Belington Fire Department and Belington Emergency Services also met Monday to discuss the storm and an action plan.
"They're all working together to accommodate the citizens of Belington," Hart said. "It's going to be some adverse weather conditions. We just encourage people to use caution."
Shelters have been prepared throughout the county, but which shelters will be used and how many will depend upon the need and character of the storm. Hart said there are four shelters that could be opened.
Hart added community members will be contacted and emergency responders will be sent into the community to alert citizens as to what shelters are open.
"We encourage neighbors to check on neighbors and family to check on family, especially if there's a power outage or heavy snow," he said.
"Don't hesitate to call 911 in an emergency," Hart added.
Everyone should have a 72-hour preparation kit in the event of a prolonged power outage, he said. The kit should include water, batteries, nonperishable food and working smoke detectors, because many households may be using candles and other sources of heat. Those who have special medical needs should make sure they have at least a 72-hour supply of oxygen and prescription medication.
Hart urged citizens to follow manufacturer recommendations for safety with any devices they use. Generators should be placed away from houses to prevent the release of carbon monoxide inside the structure.
Citizens can make sure their cellphone batteries are fully charged and use battery-operated radios for continued updates during a power outage.