Emergency Preparedness Fair trains community to be self sufficient

Staff Reports

Hays County Courthouse, TX – The Hays County Office of Emergency Services (OES) is once again hosting its annual Emergency Preparedness Fair on the second Saturday of September. Attendees can expect to take important classes, learn how to make a preparedness kit, and hear from experts about how to be ready to face almost any emergency.

They can also learn about the county’s emergency alert system, talk to first responders, and find out more about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

“Knowing what do to in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death,” said OES Director Mike Jones. “Being prepared gives people the confidence to help their family and neighbors until first responders arrive. This fair is an excellent way for Hays County residents to learn to be resourceful and prepared for just about anything.”

Jones cited the February 2021 “snowmageddon” that hit Central Texas and knocked out power and water for days on end as just one reason to attend the fair. During the snowstorm and in the days following, Jones and his staff delivered water to hundreds of county residents. Other local groups delivered food and supplies.

“We had county residents living in homes without running water, without any power and in some cases, unable to get any food,” he said. “How can we help prepare people for that kind of emergency?”

Jones also recalled the 2015 and 2017 flood events that devastated much of the county.

“The Preparedness Fair can help people know how to handle most any crisis,” he said. “Being prepared means having supplies on hand, knowing what to do and providing help to those in need.”

Classes offered during the fair include: Stop the Bleed (tourniquets); Citizen Response Active Shooter Events (CRASE); CPR take 10, FireWise (Wildland Fire Home Preparation), Standard Response Protocol (SRP) business and school response for sheltering in place and evacuations.

Vendors will offer ideas about everything from insurance coverage to financial issues after a crisis to knowing what documents to take in case of an evacuation.

For more information about the Hays County Emergency Preparedness Fair, visit haysinformed.com. The event takes place September 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hays CISD Performing Arts Center in Kyle.

Below are the COVID-19 protocols for the event:

  • Extra space between vendor booths.
  • Many vendors and exhibitors will be outdoors (weather permitting).
  • Masks and hand sanitizer will be available to all vendors and participants.
  • Our CERT team will periodically provide cleaning and disinfection of common areas.
  • Bathrooms with handwashing stations will be available.
  • Most OES team members are vaccinated; vaccine doses will be available for those who want one.

Interested in hosting a booth or donating a silent auction or raffle item? Contact Michelle Gardner at Michelle.Gardner@co.hays.tx.us. Raffle and silent auction proceeds benefit the Hays County Fire Chiefs Association and BR3T.

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