Puna Regional Emergency Preparedness Fair volunteers gearing up for 2nd annual event


Amidst tropical depressions coming and going — and serving as constant reminders for emergency readiness — preparation for the second annual Puna Regional Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Fair moved into high gear.

On Wednesday, experts from many fields got together to discuss details of the Aug. 30 fair, which is slated for 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at Keaau High School.

“This year’s fair promises to increase community emergency preparedness awareness by engaging participants in numerous workshops, exhibits, demonstrations and activities highlighting how exhibitors and who they represent can help the community in emergencies and how the public can help them in return be more effective,” said co-chair Marlene Hapai.

“Once again, Hawaii County Civil Defense and the Puna Community Development Plan Connectivity and Emergency Response Subcommittee have partnered to bring the best of both worlds, experts and the community, together with over 60 public and private agencies, organizations and individuals to get prepared,” she said.

Exhibitors represented Wednesday night will offer the public opportunities to “Make a Quake” with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, to see search and rescue dogs in action, experience a mock hurricane shelter, use hydroponics to grow things as well as canning to preserve the harvest, and numerous children’s activities to round out family preparedness.

In response to last year’s input, this year’s fair will once again use the cafetorium as a mapping room to receive community suggestions for additional emergency connectivity locations, solicit feedback on last year’s suggestions, share the process of implementation and funding and other goals of the Puna Community Development Plan and also provide workshops throughout the day about creating Family Emergency Plans.

The next major preparation step for the fair is from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, with a volunteer training session at the Hawaii County Civil Defense complex in Hilo.

Last year, approximately 300 volunteers contributed to the success of the fair. Anyone who would like to join the volunteer session is asked to contact Toni Robert, volunteer coordinator, at tonihccda@gmail.com or 937-2183.

The fair is also still looking for business or individual sponsors who would like to contribute promotional items, to include those used in emergencies as well as other prizes or monetary gifts to cover fair expenses.

“Organizers would like to thank Councilman Zendo Kern, who sponsored much of this year’s expenses, and Councilman Gregor Ilagan, who sponsored the inaugural fair last year,” Hapai said.

For more information regarding sponsorships or other things about the fair, contact Hapai at mhapai@aol.com or 966-9894.

 

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