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Officials hope event will add volunteers

Citizens Emergency Preparedness Day is scheduled for August

Citizens Emergency Preparedness Day is scheduled for August

July 01, 2002|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Following the advice of President Bush, the Washington County Commissioners and the City of Hagerstown are coordinating a drive to boost the number of volunteers in the fire, rescue and health care fields and to teach residents how to prepare for emergencies.

The first Citizens Emergency Preparedness Day will be held Aug. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Maugansville Volunteer Fire Co.

Washington County Director of Emergency Services Joe Kroboth said Sunday the event came about in response to Bush's call for more volunteers in wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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"We're trying to get as many citizens of all age groups and solicit any volunteers that can help with the agencies," Kroboth said.

"This can be their way of going out there and trying to do the right thing," said Verna Brown, emergency management coordinator for Washington County.

About 20 agencies, including the Washington County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association, Washington County Hospital, the American Red Cross and Neighborhood Watch will be on hand.

"We just felt this is a way to put all the efforts together," Brown said. "It's supposed to be designed to help people be prepared so they know what to expect."

In particular, Brown said emergency service providers want to focus on teaching people how to respond to emergencies from the time they call 911 to the time emergency personnel arrive at the scene.

Residents will have the opportunity to become certified in CPR and in administering first aid in classes that will be taught for no charge by American Red Cross representatives, Brown said.

Other seminars include teaching people how to pack emergency preparedness kits, understanding the emergency alert system, what children need to know in case of emergencies, what to do if there's an evacuation and how to make sure pets are safe in unsafe conditions.

"These are all questions that the citizens want to know," Brown said. "The more prepared you are ... the calmer you are and you work right through it."

She said she hopes the event will be popular enough so it can be held every year.

"We hope the community wants this kind of thing," she said. "If so, we can repeat it."

She said residents who know how to respond during emergencies can help others who don't, making the community a safer place.

"Just think how much more organized and how prepared we'll all be," Brown said. "I think emergency preparedness is something that everybody needs to know and it's everybody's responsibility."

Those interested in becoming certified in CPR and administering first aid must pre-register for the event.

For more information, leave a message for Brown at 240-313-2930.

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