Navy to offer disaster preparedness seminar

September is National Disaster Preparedness Month, and Naval Air Station Whidbey Island is working to ensure locals are prepared in case a disaster strikes.

The NAS Whidbey Fleet and Family Support Center is teaming with the NAS Whidbey Emergency Management office to offer a free, two-hour disaster preparedness seminar for military members and their families.

The seminar is 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12 at the Bakerview Restaurant (CPO Club) Ballroom in Oak Harbor.

The seminar, in its third year, will focus on the making a plan of action in case of an emergency, ideas for building a disaster kit and resources to stay informed before, during and after an emergency.

Donald Allman, director of NAS Whidbey Emergency Management, will discuss man-made and natural hazards that occur on Whidbey Island and Jim Reynolds, director of the Fleet and Family Support Center’s Emergency Family Assistance Center will discuss the center’s importance in a disaster as well as the Navy Family Accountability and Assistance System.

“We’ll also have a panel of first responders there to answer questions,” Reynolds said. The groups attending will include the Oak Harbor Fire Department, NAS Whidbey Federal Fire Department, Whidbey Health EMS, Island County Sheriff’s Office, American Red Cross, Island County Amateur Radio Club, Island County Emergency Management and local Community Emergency Response Team.

It’s important that military families learn how to prepare for a disaster independent of their service member, because when disaster strikes, that member is mobilized, Reynolds said.

“So the family needs to be really well-informed, they need to have their pieces in place so they’re not scrambling,” he said.

And living on Whidbey Island, they are multiple possible hazards residents could face, including earthquakes, tsunamis and fires.

“We have four fault lines that run right through this little place we live on,” Reynolds said. “There’s a bridge, a ferry, we’re surrounded by water and there’s volcanoes. It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

• Those unable to attend may stop by the Fleet and Family Support Center for information or visit www.ready.navy.mil

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