The Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) is hosting its first countywide preparedness expo Wednesday, May 15 in an effort to connect Baldwin County residents with resources to assist in planning for disasters and emergencies.
According to a news release, the event is a coordinated effort among the local municipalities, community partners and the Baldwin County Commission Emergency Management Department. The goal is to provide preparedness education and connect people with resources that will assist in planning for their families, pets, property and community as a whole.
Jenni Guerry, logistics coordinator and education outreach coordinator for the Baldwin County EMA, said in years past, many municipalities have hosted smaller preparation events within their jurisdictions, but the county moved to work together with volunteer organizations and municipalities to the countywide expo, which they hope can be moved throughout the county in years to come.
Next week’s event will be at the Orange Beach Event Center at The Wharf from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Admission is free.
Guerry said more than 60 vendors have confirmed their attendance and plan to offer information on emergency services and disaster response. Municipalities will have details about new FEMA flood maps enacted in April, the Baldwin Rural Area Transportation System (BRATS) will discuss opportunities for assistance with transportation, nonprofit organizations will be on-site with information about services and volunteer opportunities, the private sector will be represented to cover issues such as cleanup, mold remediation, flood response and insurance.
Public and private utilities will offer demonstrations about hazards, threats and recovery while representatives from such agencies as the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Infirmary Health, Medical Reserve Corps, Baldwin County Emergency Communication District and more will also be present.
There will also be a component for business continuity presented by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“The expo is a free and public event,” Guerry said. “We are offering information and education for our residents, whether they be brand new to the area … and there is also going to be some really great information for those who’ve been here for a period of time and just may need a little refresher on some of the things they can do to help.”
While Baldwin County has been spared a major storm since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, Guerry said recent storms elsewhere such as Hurricane Michael last year on the Florida Panhandle prove the area is always at risk.
“We have been very fortunate in years past … but over time we do have concerns about people becoming complacent on their planning efforts,” she said. “We always encourage people to take time to make a plan for themselves and their families. It’s also very important people have emergency supplies in the event of a disaster and they always stay informed. Make sure you’re getting information from credible or reputable sources so you can make informed decisions.”Flyer
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