July 28--A county-wide informational exposition will be held next month to teach Onslow County residents about options and services available to the public during a natural disaster.
Haws Run Volunteer Fire Department will host its first Storm Readiness and Disaster Preparedness Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.Aug. 2 at the Pineland Presbyterian Gym at 205 King Road in Jacksonville.
The event is free and open to the public.
In addition to Haws Run, other county, state and federal organizations, such as Jones-Onslow Electric Company, ONWASA, Red Cross, N.C. Highway Patrol and Onslow County Sheriff's Office will be in attendance to share disaster readiness information.
"Jacksonville is a very transient area, especially with military so close," said Brian Standridge of Haws Run Volunteer Fire Department. "We have a lot of people moving in and out who may not be totally familiar with this area. We are having this expo to let them know what's available to them."
Representatives from local businesses, government organizations and other local entities will set up booths inside the gymnasium to hand out information and talk to people about their area of expertise.
"There's going to be like 10 different organizations that will be coming through," said Haws Run VFD captain Brandon Hansley. "They will have different stations to give out information. The expo will hopefully educate the public a little better on what to do if a major storm hits our area, not just before the storm, but also after."
In addition to information on proper storm and disaster protocol, booths will include information on other related topics, such as pet boarding, how to prepare your home and preventative tree removal services.
Stacie Miles, Deputy Director of Onslow County Emergency Services, said her organization will be providing information on all aspects of planning for hazards.
"We will be passing out info pamphlets that will help people plan for their family's special needs, such as medical concerns, what to do with their pets and how to build a good escape plan," Miles said. "We will also have a mock emergency supply kit with a checksheet that can help guide people to make their own kits."
Inside these emergency kits should be items such as five days worth of food, radios compatible with NOAA signals, flashlights, a first aid kit, whistles and garbage bags to help keep clean, among other things, Miles said.
"These kits can be built cheaply or they can get really technical and expensive," Miles said. "There is a wide range of things you can build them out of, but it is important to at least have something ready in the case of an emergency."
In addition to help people prepare for storms and disasters, Standridge said the expo is also intended to help reduce the fire district's insurance rates.
"Haws Run is in the process of being inspected by the North Carolina Department of Insurance," Standridge said. "Each department is given an insurance service office rating that determines the homeowner's insurance rates for residents of that fire district. Right now, Haws Run does not have the greatest rating in the world, but events like this and other community-based public ventures will help improve this rating. The more participation we can get from the county and the community, the better our rating will be."
For more information, call Brian Standridge at 910-376-5655 or Brandon Hansley at 910-389-3630.
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