Story by Pamela Sleezer.
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Are you prepared for a major weather event or natural disaster? Do you have a plan in place for your family members if disaster should strike while you’re not at home? The Directorate of Emergency Services at Joint Base Lewis-McChord wants to help residents prepare for the unexpected with information and resources at the inaugural Disaster Preparedness Expo being held Sept. 9.
From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., the public is encouraged to visit the JBLM Morale, Welfare and Recreation festival tent on Lewis Main, located behind the bowling center at 2272 Liggett Ave. where representatives of more than 26 organizations from JBLM and surrounding areas will be on hand to share information and answer questions.
According to Mark Williamson, the emergency manager at JBLM’s DES, the event will provide the opportunity for emergency officials to educate the public on the unique preparation needs that come with living in the Pacific Northwest.
“We have been running surveys the last couple of months and we found out that we’re not nearly as close to being prepared as I was hoping,” Williamson said.
Williamson said the surveys reflected that only 10 percent of the population has an emergency kit that could help them survive on their own for up to two weeks, and even less had an appropriate action plan in place for their loved ones immediately following a disaster.
“So, we will have some presentations that will talk about how to be better prepared,” Williamson said. “And all the participants that will be on hand during the event will help get people in the mindset of being prepared.”
Outside agencies participating in the event include emergency management teams from Pierce and Thurston counties, team members from the U.S. Geological Survey, and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 10 office in Bothell, Washington.
“There will be a lot of important information provided by a lot of participants,” Williamson said. “I really hope community members come out and take that information back home with them.”