2019 Ellis County Preparedness Fair
MIDLOTHIAN – After bad weather caused a cancellation for the annual Ellis County Preparedness Fair last year, the 2019 event was held this past weekend in Midlothian.
The Ellis County Office of Emergency Management and the City of Midlothian brought the Emergency Preparedness Fair to County residents in conjunction with National Preparedness Month.
Local Ellis County law enforcement including police, fire and SWAT took part in the event. Key local disasters highlighted included flooding, tornadoes, epidemics, and wildfires.
“The fair served as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare, now and throughout the year for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and visit,” said Samantha Pickett Ellis County Emergency Management Coordinator. “We tend to overlook the small details when we are in the thick of it, and we just want to have fun while we provide a way for every member of the family to learn how to better protect themselves, their pets, and their livestock.”
The highlight of the event, according to Nathaniel Pecina, Public Information Specialist for Ellis County, were attendees having the opportunity to talk to first responders from all over the county and learning about how they operate. First responders showcased their emergency vehicles and provided handouts so residents were made more aware of how to be prepared for any type of local emergency.
Increasing Awareness Of Emergency Resources
“Attendees learned the types of resources that are out there that can assist in an catastrophic disaster such as federal, state, local, and volunteer organizations,” Pecina said. “There is Team Rubicon, a volunteer organization that can remove debris and help rebuild homes if residents do not have insurance. ARES will talk about how to communicate if cell towers are down. Texas Department of Emergency Management and FEMA can offer monetary assistance through Individual Assistance or Public Assistance depending on the extent of damage and discuss what to do if the damage threshold is not met. For example, there are other options such as the Small Business Administration’s to offer extremely low rate loans to help rebuild.”
The family/pet friendly event also offered free resources to attendees to equip them in case of potential emergency situations. Local vendors provided free food and giveaways.
Pecina said the main message was to remind residents to be prepared, not scared. They emphasize its important to have insurance and to be sure insurance policies always cover flooding. Also, in the event of a disaster, residents need to have a 3-7 day emergency kit for everyone in the family, including their pets.
“The most important thing is to be prepared for a catastrophic disaster. Know where to seek help,” Pecina concluded. “It’s not if it will happen, but when it will happen. An example I like to give, think of it like a significant other is planning to deliver a baby. People gear up and get prepared for the big day. They know who to call if something goes wrong. They check in with family members. And prepare for it financially.”