Saturday June 2nd dawned clear and bright to the sound of diesel motors as the 2012 Walton County Florida Personal and Family Preparedness Fair began. Planned and produced as a joint effort by the Walton County Emergency Management Agency and World Disaster Report, the fair's purpose was to increase citizen self reliance, all hazards awareness, and empower everyone to assist one another through increased emergency preparedness. County responders and other volunteer organizations were out in force to help touch local lives in a multitude of ways. As citizens streamed into the display area, they were treated to an impressive display of products that would help them to be more prepared in case of a disaster. These included solar power generation equipment, tasty long term food storage selection, and a surprising amount of free written material to address almost any conceivable question an individual or family might have. Fair-goers could take home pamphlets and publications on every subject from how to plan for staying at home during an emergency, how to evacuate pets, how to strengthen the home against storms, to the most efficient way to evacuate the whole family if the need arises. Once again World Disaster Report deployed "Big Bird", our emergency volunteer response and communications unit. We were particularly pleased to demonstrate our newly installed Solar Generator, provided by Solutions From Science. Big Bird's radios and solar panels were unpacked and at that point all communications were powered by the sun. Walton County responders showed off their highly specialized equipment and well trained personnel whose sole purpose is to save lives when things go badly wrong. We were also pleased to be visited by two local television stations, WMBB News Channel 13, and WJHG News Channel 7. click here to view TV story by WMBB's Addie Hampton
World Disaster Report's primary mission (expressed as Educate, Prepare, and Assist) is to work at the county level (without charge) to help improve citizen preparedness and strengthen understanding of the local Emergency Management Agencey's critical role in helping to keep citizens safe. We viewed our high profile participation in the Walton County Preparedness Fair as a major event, and express our sincere thanks to Major Joe Preston and Ms. Valerie Angel for their support.
Our sincere thanks: We at World Disaster Report offer our sincere thanks to all the officials and citizens of Walton County Florida. In particular we must reiterate thanks for tireless efforts of Ms. Valerie Angel, Emergency Management Planner of the Walton County's Sheriff's Department Communications and Emergency Management Division. Her tireless work with the hard working local planning committee made the event possible and will contribute directly to saving lives in the event of a disaster. We all believe that if even one citizen takes action to improve preparedness, everyone will benefit, and we know that many citizens left the fair with helpful preparedness products, food for thought, and vital information that would help them address their specific needs and situation.
As the day progressed, Freeport Fire and Rescue's barbecue staff was unable to find a nearby electrical hook up to power the music system. World Disaster Report co-founder Andy Jones became aware of the need, arranged the loan of a Solar Generator controller and solar panel (a portable Solar Generator) and the problem was solved by free power from the sun. Shelf Reliance representatives demonstrated a remarkable variety of very tasty food storage items from cans and specialized resealable plastic pouches. We were favored by a pleasant crowd, fair weather, and a location that invited drive-by traffic to stop on the way to the city. The AirHeart lifeflight helicopter provided an interesting accent to the day's activities. Children and adults alike appreciated the aircrew's explanations and being able to look inside the amazingly complex machine. The Technical rescue team brought back memories of our rock climbing days as they displayed and explained the uses of varied rope and pulley safety systems designed to save victims from highly dangerous situations such as storage tanks, deep holes (wells, or sink holes), or entrapment in locations without sufficient life sustaining air.
PICTURESQUE AND GRACIOUS
Outgoing and warm local hospitality and the carefully preserved environment blend with a vibrant synergy to make the Walton/DeFuniak Springs area resonate with charm. Walton County's Chamber of Commerce graciously provided facilities and showcased the modern and efficient local government and business partnership.
NEXT YEAR'S FAIR ALREADY IN PLANNING
Major Joe Preston announced that planning had already begun for the 2013 Preparedness Fair with an expanded field of exhibitors and parking space for attendees.
Walton County Emergency Management and Public Safety Communications Division (Major Joe Preston, Chief of Emergency Management and Public Safety Communications Division)
World Disaster Report www.wdrep.com
Solutions from Science (Solar Generator Division) http://www.solutionsfromscience.com/
Shelf Reliance (food products) http://leneamartel.shelfreliance.com/LeneaMartel
LOCAL AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS IN ATTENDANCE
Walton County Sheriff's Department Emergency Management & Public Safety http://www.waltonso.org/
Walton County Fire and Rescue http://www.co.walton.fl.us/index.aspx?NID=338
Walton County Chamber of Commerce http://waltonareachamber.com/
Florida Department of Environmental Protection http://www.dep.state.fl.us/
Freeport Fire and Rescue http://freeportfirerescue.com/
Alaqua Animal Refuge http://www.alaquaanimalrefuge.org/
Walton County Florida Amateur Radio Club
Air Heart Life Flilght http://www.sacred-heart.org/airheart/airheart/AIRHeart.html
South Walton County Mosquito Control District http://www.co.walton.fl.us/index.aspx?NID=192
Florida Department of Agriculture Division of Forrestry http://www.floridaforestservice.com/wildfire/
Walton County EMC http://waltonemc.com/
Chanel 13 and 7 reporters
Power Town electrical safety demonstration (below) - can you see the electricity arcing from the bus to the figure?
Russel Beaty (Walton County Emergency Manager/planner) and Fire Fighters