ROCKINGHAM — A free disaster preparedness workshop for older adults and their caregivers is scheduled from from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 7 at Cole Auditorium.
Lunch will be provided, so organizers said each person planning to attend must register by Aug. 4 b calling 910-997-4491.
Donna Wright, director of emergency services for Richmond County, said it is important for senior citizens to be prepared in advance for disasters — those that are predicted and those that arrive unexpectedly. Preparations for weather and non-weather-related emergencies should be in place before disaster strikes.
“We want our seniors and family members who take care of them to be aware of ways they can prepare themselves,” Wright said. “They need to know what kinds of things they should always keep ready to take to emergency shelters with them and things of that nature. They need to know how to prepare to evacuate.”
Wright said a special-needs registry program will be available soon, allowing people with specific medical concerns to identify themselves in the system in advance. In the case of an evacuation, emergency management officials will use that information to help them determine whether people could take cover in a general shelter or whether they need one designed for providing special medical assistance.
“If we have a hazardous materials event that affects a certain area, we can identify where our most vulnerable people will be in that event,” Wright said. “You would be surprised at all the chemicals that come through this county on the roadways — those tanker trucks you see that pass you on the road. It’s more likely we would have a hazmat event than a weather event. A lot of people don’t realize that.”
The educational classes at the auditorium will include information on weather watches and warnings and the actions you should take, how to prepare for evacuations to emergency shelters, how the American Red Cross helps during disasters, tips on preparing an emergency kit for you and your pets and the dangers of hazardous materials spills. There will even be an opportunity to hear an eyewitness account from a disaster survivor.
To learn more or complete the registration process, call 910-997-4491.
Reach reporter Melonie Flomer at 910-817-2673.