Approximately half of Tyler County was without power during the early morning hours of Jan. 28, during a time when the temperature was a reported negative 12 degrees, not including a wind chill factor.
Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Tom Cooper said he received a call from Tyler County Dispatch at 5:30 a.m. informing him of this interruption in power.
Cooper said that First Energy workers were able to restore the power before 8 a.m. He explained that the cause of the electric failure, according to a lineman working the event, was a tree falling on a power line near Archers Chapel, tripping a substation near Middleboune.
"Something as simple as a tree falling can easily cascade into a dangerous event for entire communities," said Cooper. "We've seen a single windstorm shut down most of West Virginia for weeks. We have seen a single water problem adversely affect an area the size of Pursley for days and another water problem affect 700,000 people and temporarily shut down several local businesses in the nine counties surrounding our state capital. This is not what could happen. These events have already happened. Individuals, families, and businesses need to prepare for the next event."
Local emergency management suggests that businesses and individuals follow FEMA's guidelines. The first step is to make a plan and build a kit. Although the kits should have everything needed for individuals and families to survive at least three days, it is also highly advisable to have more set back in the event that outside support takes longer to arrive; three days is the general time cited for how long it will take for outside support to arrive.
Most vital among these items, during low temperature seasons, is to have a secondary way of heating the house or business. As well, keep plenty of food and drinking water on hand and an extra supply of all necessary medications. Cooper also notes that pets should be kept in mind while planning.