First county Preparedness Fair set for Saturday, Sept. 27, at the fairgrounds

With September declared ?National Preparedness Month,? county residents can prepare themselves for future disaster situations by participating in the first Marion County Prepare?dness Fair, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 27, at the Marion County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro.

Randy Frank, director of the county?s Emergency Management office, Diedre Serene, director of the county health department, and county resident Russell Groves are coordinating this first event.

?With it being National Preparedness Month, I?ve noticed that in the documented past we haven?t done anything to help prepare people in the county through my office,? Frank said. ?We?re doing our inaugural fair. It will help people prepare for disasters and get them ready — because if they?re prepared, they will be able to respond well and they will be able to help others, too.?

Some 14 area medical and emergency-response agencies and organizations will be on-site for the event. The following learning opportunities will be offered at the fair:

– Canning, food storage and water purification

– 72-hour kits

– Family emergency plans

– Fire safety

– First aid and CPR

– Gardening

– Disaster first aid

– Pet safety and identification

– Ham radio communication

– Boy Scouts of America

– Coloring contest winners

– Immunization clinic

– Fingerprinting and DNA kits for youth

– Hillsboro Public Library story time

– Poison prevention

In addition, LifeTeam will have one of its air ambulances on the grounds for viewing, and the Hillsboro Fire Department will display its new pumper truck. The Marion County Fair Board will furnish refreshments.

Frank estimated that no more than 1 to 2 percent of county households have established — and regularly rehearse — a plan to respond to such emergencies as fire and tornadoes.

?It?s because it hasn?t been on the forefront of their minds,? he said. ?(They think) ?Life is good, why do we need this right now? We?ll deal with it when it happens.? But some people, when they get to that point, (emergency planning) becomes overwhelming. That?s when we step in to help them out.

?I want to create the habit with folks who live here in our county and help them with the visitors who come here, too. If we get our homes prepared, then we can go to other places, like the lakes.

?One of my goals is to help all the churches develop and rehearse a disaster plan,? he added. ?That goes to preparing that habit, and if we?re doing it at church, why aren?t we doing it at home??

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