published Monday, September 2nd, 2013

Marion County Disaster Preparedness Expo focused on being ready for emergencies

IF YOU GO

What: Disaster preparedness expo

When: 9 a.m. 3 p.m. CDT Sept. 21

Where: Whitwell City Park on Tennessee Highway 28

More information: 423-658-2006.

WHITWELL, Tenn. — Marion County emergency first responders will host the Marion One Disaster Preparedness Expo on Sept. 21.

Last week, county commissioners voted unanimously to declare Sept. 15-21 National Disaster Preparedness Week in Marion County.

Brenda Payne, director of the County Disaster Animal Response Team, said the expo is a chance for the public and first responders to meet face to face.

“It’s an opportunity for us to come together and be one,” she said. “I think everyone can attest that we all came together to help out in South Pittsburg [after the July 10 flooding]. We would do that for any disaster.”

Howard Cotter, director of the Emergency Planning Committee, said the event is designed to inform the public and to help prepare people for disasters like the one that happened in South Pittsburg.

“The first thing you do in being prepared for an emergency is to become informed,” he said. “That’s what the expo is going to do.”

The expo will include demonstrations by various county first responder groups and other local, state and federal emergency agencies, officials said.

Attendees will be shown things like how to prepare an in-home safety kit and what types of resources are available to residents in the event of a major disaster.

Payne said the event will help get emergency preparedness information “into the hands” of local residents.

That’s information that Cotter said South Pittsburg residents had to “find out the hard way” after July’s flash flooding.

Admission to the expo is free, and food concessions will be available.

“I’m expecting the parking lot to be full of firetruck, police cars, and all the first responders’ equipment,” Payne said. “I’m expecting that public parking lot to be full, and I’m expecting all of our booths to be full.”

“Come and learn,” Cotter said. “Be prepared, and be safe.”

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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