By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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“If there is a disaster, our emergency systems will be overwhelmed,” said Port Townsend City Council member Deborah Stinson.
“If we are prepared, we are miles ahead.
“A lot of people are in denial about disasters, saying that it can’t happen here or they think that if there is a problem, the fire department will come right to their driveway and help them out.”
The six-hour event took place at H.J. Carroll County Park and was expected to draw around 1,000 people, organizer Judith Alexander said early on.
Several county agencies sponsored booths and passed out information, but the main purpose was to get people to talk to their neighbors and begin developing a disaster strategy.
More than 100 neighborhoods already have begun the disaster-planning process and were listed in a directory where picnickers could find out if their neighborhood was covered.
If not, they were given the tools to start something of their own.
This included the preparation of a disaster kit that organizers said should be present in every household.
Henery’s Hardware, where many of the needed items are available, sponsored a booth in which these goods were on display.
“Half of this is basic, while the rest of the stuff has to do with each individual,” said Lance
Willmon, who was representing the store.
Willmon said each individual will build his or her own kit, but the most necessary elements were duct tape, a first aid kit and food supplies.
“We live in a place that doesn’t have ready access to emergency response from outside agencies,” said East Jefferson Fire-Rescue spokesman Bill Beezley.
“We have to raise awareness and let people know they will need to depend on themselves.”
“It was great that we could bring people of all ages together,” said Danny Mulholland, who produced the entertainment.
“We are urging people to connect with their neighborhoods, to take charge and become as proactive as possible.”
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.