The Hays County Office of Emergency Services (OES) invites the public to attend the annual Emergency Preparedness Fair this Saturday, September 11. Several weeks ago, Hays County Commissioners Court proclaimed September as Preparedness Month. This event is geared toward offering the community an opportunity to learn about being prepared for most any emergency.
As part of the fair’s opening ceremonies, which begin at 9:30 a.m., U.S. military veterans will be on hand to lead the crowd in a moment of silence in remembrance of those lives lost on 9/11/2001. The Hays County High School Band will play taps and shortly after a Blackhawk helicopter will land near the site.
The preparedness fair begins at 10 a.m. 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 most 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) – an organization comprised of volunteers from across Hays County.
OES Director Mike Jones said the fair offers an opportunity for people to learn how to be more self-sufficient during emergencies like the February 2021snowstorm when thousands across the county lost power and water for days.
“We want our residents to have the knowledge and confidence to assist their families and neighbors until help arrives,” he said. “During a major weather event or other emergency, first responders may not be able to get there right away. That’s why knowing what to do and how to help is so critical.”
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. The class schedule is on the haysinformed.com website.
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, as well as taking care of pets during an emergency.
The fair also features a silent auction and a raffle. OES Coordinator Michelle Villegas said the public can bid on the auction items on the Bidding Owl website: https://www.biddingowl.com/Auction/home.cfm?auctionID=23130.
“We received many fantastic donations from more than 20 local businesses for this auction,” she said. “Seeing all the community support is so encouraging. We’re truly humbled by their desire to help.”
Villegas added people can also buy raffle tickets for the baskets that will be on display during the fair, including several donated by Hays County employees. Tickets are $1 for five, three for $15 and six for $20. The drawing is at 3:45 p.m. – need not be present to win.
“Our hope is that community members will bid on the items and buy raffle tickets to help raise the money that will be donated to two local organizations,” she said.
For more information about the Hays County Emergency Preparedness Fair, including the class schedule, vendor list, maps and more, 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, located at 979 Kohlers Crossing at the intersection of FM 1626.
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.
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