CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Saturday marked the start of National Preparedness Month -- barely two months after a series of epic summer windstorms rocked West Virginia and surrounding states.
"You never know when the day before is the day before disaster strikes," said Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson Anne Roberts, echoing the organization's new campaign slogan.
FEMA's "Ready" campaign aims to get people to better prepare ahead of time for natural or manmade disasters. Only 60 percent of Americans report it's very important to them to prepare for a disaster, according to Roberts.
"This is about asking real people to take the initiative. If more people are already prepared when disaster strikes, that means more emergency responders can focus on saving lives because everyone has done their part," she said.
"There's a bigger picture here. It's not just about helping yourself and your own family -- it's about saving your community."
Kanawha County officials are working together to do their part to celebrate the awareness month with a Sustainable Families Preparedness Fair Sept. 15.
The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the Charleston Fire Department, the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department and other agencies will offer a variety of tips on what to do if disaster leaves you without power, food and other essentials.
"None of us knew Mother Nature was going to hit us with those June storms. Even though it was small in comparison to disasters that other areas deal with, there was still panic," said Myra Dolan, lead volunteer organizer for the fair. "As good citizens, it's our job to be prepared."
The fair will feature exhibits about water storage methods, food storage and canning, alternative cooking lessons and home gardening.