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Family Preparedness Fair teaches Helena residents to stay vigilant

Posted at 7:33 PM, Mar 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-02 21:33:17-05

HELENA— On Saturday, dozens of people learned about ways they can be prepared in case of a disaster, like flooding or wildfires.

Lewis and Clark Public Health and Elkhorn Community Organizations Active in Disaster organized a Family Preparedness Fair.

“After last year’s flood season, we decided we wanted to put more information out there for the public,” Brett Lloyd, Lewis and Clark Public Health emergency preparedness coordinator.

Presenters shared information on ensuring water quality, signing up for emergency notifications, and making an emergency plan.

Those who attended the fair, at Rossiter Elementary School, received items like a portable water filter and emergency lights. Rossiter was closed for several weeks last spring after flooding left it inaccessible.

“We wanted to make sure that we brought this information to the folks out here in the Valley that were hardest hit by the flooding last year, and so we felt that Rossiter was the ideal place to do that,” Lloyd added.

Nick Garteiz, fair attendee, and his wife had to deal with heavy runoff during last spring’s floods.

He said they got some useful advice on protecting their septic system.

“There are so many resources here, and great people to share their information,” Garteiz said.

While it’s still winter outside, emergency preparedness coordinator Brett Lloyd said leaders are already thinking about the spring.

“With all the snow that we have right now, there’s a good chance if we have a rapid warmup, we could have what we call a rapid snowmelt event,” Lloyd warned. “Flooding season’s still a potential possibility.”

Lloyd hopes this event will get the public thinking about the steps they can take to be ready.

“Preparedness is an individual or a family endeavor,” he said. “Ultimately people have to take responsibility for their own preparedness, so we can give them information, we can give them some good products, but ultimately it’s up to them to get themselves and their families as prepared as possible.”

-Reported by Jonathon Ambarian/MTN News