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WNYers and county leaders encourage emergency preparedness

Residents are advised to stock up on supplies like fire extinguishers, heated blankets and first aid kits.

WEST SENECA, N.Y. — Tina Destro said she woke up feeling like someone was shaking her headboard. 

Having lived in the same home for the past 25 years, the West Seneca native thought she’d seen it all.

But when an earthquake struck less than a mile away, for a moment, she didn’t know what to do.

"My first instinct was to jump out of bed and see what was going on,” Destro said. “It didn't occur to me to stand in a doorway or hang on to the doorframe. I didn't have any of those sensible feelings.”

Destro isn’t alone and is a part of the 71% of Americans who admit they wouldn’t know what to do either.

It’s something experts are saying we need to be thinking about, as Monday morning’s quake was just the latest in a string of natural disasters to hit Western New York over the past three months.

“We just never really know what is going to hit our community or shift our families at a moment's notice,” said Erie County Legislator April Baskin. “You have to be prepared mentally. You have to be prepared spiritually. And you have to be prepared financially for the unexpected to happen.” 

Baskin’s mission is to make sure that going forward Western New Yorkers are as prepared as possible, which means having items like fire extinguishers, heated blankets, and first aid kits in their home and car.

It’s why, this weekend, she held this event for women at the YMCA to answer their questions and provide supplies to help them survive the next natural disaster.

“What we should strive to do is learn as much as possible about how we can protect ourselves, and how we can protect our family,” Baskin.

But for residents like Destro, the fear of what’s coming next still remains.

“I've talked to so many people today, and people say what's next?” Destro said. “My initial response is don't say that because you might find out. I think we're all a little concerned about what might happen here.”

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