Community

Islanders prepare for the worst

In recognition of National Preparedness Month several organizations have come together to help encourage the citizens of Island County to prepare for a significant or catastrophic event.

On Sept. 11, North Whidbey Fire & Rescue hosted an open house, 9/11 memorial service and preparedness fair at the Monroe Landing Fire Station in Oak Harbor.

The event was well received by a number of residents. Some participants for the day were the Island County Sheriff’s Office, the Power Squadron, the Island County Amateur Radio group, the Medical Reserve Corps and the Department of Emergency Management.

These organizations and more had booths up and handed out preparedness information, displays such as the sheriff’s rescue boat, the amateur radio group’s go box and packet radio, which allows the operators to send email and chat over the ham radios, and a decontamination tent, just to name a few.

On Sept. 30 from noon to 4 p.m. the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station will be hosting another preparedness fair at the Chief Petty Officers (CPO) Club on Ault Field Road in Oak Harbor. Expect to see more displays and booths giving out information on how to prepare you for 3 to 7 days after a significant event.

“Are you prepared?,” asks Dave Hollett, director of the Island County Department of Emergency Management. “Do you have food, water, a first aid kit and emergency supplies for your family?”

Families should create a communications plan or meeting place if your family is separated during a disaster, have an established out of area contact person, and be trained in CPR and first aid, he said. “These simple steps can make a world of difference for you and your family in the midst of a crisis.”

Hollett said communicating with your neighbors is also helpful in preparing for emergencies. Is there someone vulnerable nearby who needs additional assistance? Have you done a “map your neighborhood” plan?

“Be a part of the solution by preparing yourself, your family and your neighborhood,” Hollett said. Preparedness fairs are a good place to start and for more information, you can contact the Department of Emergency Management at 679-7370. the American Red Cross at 360-283-2911 or visit http://www.ready.gov/america/.

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