Emergencies happen; are you ready, county asks?

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County’s Department of Emergency Services to educate during National Preparedness Month

By Kathleen Brady Shea, Managing Editor, The Times

Displaying the proclamation issued by the Chester County Commissioners are Anne Shuinak, Chester County Food Bank; Vicky Mayer, Royer Greaves School for the Blind; Nancy Keefer, Chester County Chamber of Business and Industry; Robert Kagel, Chester County Dept. of Emergency Services; and Michael Curry, Vanguard.

As highlighted this week while Hurricane Issac bore down on the Gulf Coast, there no such thing as being too prepared for an emergency.

With that in mind, and knowing the benefits of advance planning, the Chester County Board of Commissioners committed last week to participate in September’s National Preparedness Month.

Now in its ninth year, the nationwide initiative, hosted by the Ready Campaign and emergency management organizations across the nation, encourages households, businesses and communities to prepare and plan for emergencies.

One of National Preparedness Month’s key messages stresses preparations for an event  that might cause residents to be self-reliant for three days without utilities and electricity, water service, access to a supermarket or local services, or maybe even without access to police, fire or rescue.

The Chester County Department of Emergency Services (DES) will sponsor a number of programs this September to help educate Chester County citizens on how best to prepare, county officials said.  On Sept. 5, representatives will visit area train stations during the morning rush hour to distribute a newspaper with information on how to prepare.  On Sept. 8 and 9, DES will participate in the annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square.

DES will host a preparedness workshop at the Chester County Library on Sept. 12.  On Sept. 15  DES will attend Harmony Day in Honey Brook and  the Restaurant Festival in West Chester on Sept. 16.  A business summit will be held Sept. 18 at Penn State Great Valley.  On Sept. 26, DES will host a display at the Exton Square Mall.  Additionally, DES will host a number of events for county employees during lunch hours in conjunction with the Chester County Wellness Committee.

Other activities will include a volunteer recruitment fair on Sept. 22 at the Government Services Center.  The morning will provide an opportunity for volunteer and non-profit organizations to interact for possible collaborations, and the afternoon will offer an opportunity for the public to learn about these volunteer organizations and how to get involved.

Finally, DES has partnered with the Chester County Chamber of Business Industry and Chester County FIRST to develop a simple preparedness program for businesses. Called Partners in Preparedness, the program will be launched in September at no cost to participants.

For more information about the Ready Campaign, National Preparedness Month, or the events being hosted, visit http://www.ready.gov/community or call 610-344-4335.

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