Kanawha County's director of emergency management hopes the recent storm will persuade people they need to be better prepared when disaster strikes.
"People need to be prepared to take care of themselves for at least 72 hours," said Dale Petry, director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management agency.
Petry's hopes come in the wake of the derecho that knocked out power to thousands around the state on the evening of June 29.
Petry acknowledged that the power outages and extreme heat have lasted well past 72 hours, but he said emergency personnel need time to gather resources after a disaster.
"The state should have resources in place after 72 hours," he said.
That means people need to have water, non-perishable food and other items including batteries and flashlights ready in case of an emergency, he said. Non-perishable foods should include canned and dried goods.
People should have enough water for everyone in their family in case of an emergency, Petry said. The standard is at least six, eight-ounce containers of water on hand for everyone in the family per day.
Petry added that people should keep an emergency kit somewhere in their home. Food and water aren't the only things that should be included in the emergency kit.
For example, the kit should include basic medications such as aspirin and items such as bandages and antiseptic cream.
"And if people take medications for a specific illness, they need to have extra in their kit," he said.
A severe power outage like the one that just occurred across the Mid-Atlantic states also affects pharmacies, he said. The high winds knocked down trees everywhere, making travel difficult.
Batteries and a flashlight are a must for any emergency kit, Petry said. However, people also need to keep some sort of battery-operated radio on hand to get information about the disaster once the lights go out.
"If you lose power, you don't have a television or a phone," he said. "You need to have a way to stay informed about the situation."
Having a backup generator on hand is a plus, Petry said, but it is also not practical for all residents, since the machines must be operated outside to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.