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Disaster kits stressed by Homeland Security

September 28, 2008
By BRIAN COOK, Times Leader Staff Writer

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Earl D. Mack of Ohio Homeland Security opened the eyes of many Thursday afternoon at the monthly meeting of the Belmont County West Chapter of AARP. With 105 members present, AARP members heard Mack discuss the horror that natural disasters have played in recent weeks at the state level.

"How well you prepare yourself for these disasters will show how well you weather the storm," Mack indicated. "We see what happened in the Gulf Coast again. Many of those same people got caught by surprise again without being prepared."

Mack stressed the importance of kit ready in your home when these disasters occur.

Article Photos

MEETING WITH Earl D. Mack of Ohio Homeland Security are members of the Belmont County West Chapter of AARP in St. Clairsville. Pictured, from left, are Mary Hirauk, assistant treasurer; Berth Pickering, treasurer; Mack; John Budinscak, vice-president; and Janice Sheppard, secretary.

"Our organization does two things protect and prevent. As Homeland Security we need to protect and as citizens you need to help yourselves to prevent when Mother Nature goes haywire. We offer loads of strategic information at our center to help in these times, but only you can take that step to help your family," he said.

Most families have different needs which can range from medical conditions, pets or disabilities so everyone's kit will be a little different. However, Mack indicated those are the most important things families need to look at when planning for natural disasters.

The high winds last week forced power outages for thousands of Ohio residents following the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Many of those individuals and families went days without power in their homes.

"Whatever you need tells you how to prepare your family," Mack said.

Cook can be reached at



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