By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
On Saturday, August 20, Oklahoma City residents can learn how to stay safe during emergency situations at PREPARE FEST – the City of Oklahoma City’s first emergency preparedness festival. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Civic Center Music Hall, 201 N Walker Ave.
Speakers will highlight the importance of creating a readiness plan for natural disasters including tornadoes, floods, earthquakes and wildfires as well as public health or safety threats such as mosquito mitigation and active shooter incidents.
“The Oklahoma City Office of Emergency Management is excited about OKC’s first Prepare Fest,” said Lt. Frank Barnes, the City’s Emergency Manager, one of the seminar speakers. “We want people to participate and learn about the phases and mission areas of emergency management in preparedness, prevention, protection, response and recovery.”
During the event residents can speak with local emergency responders and community service organizations as well as attend an emergency preparedness seminar that begins at 11 a.m.
According to organizers, “being prepared and knowing what to do during an emergency can make a life-or-death difference for your family.”
Also speaking during the seminar will be Rick Smith, National Weather Service Warning Coordinator meteorologist and Glenda Ford-Lee, from the Emergency Preparedness and Response Service Division of the Oklahoma State Department of Health
Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Jason Knight will introduce the City’s new “See Something, Say Something” program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“In Oklahoma, it’s not a question of “’if’ we’re going to have to deal with a natural disaster like tornado, winter storm or earthquake, it’s a question of ‘when,’” said Smith. “The Prepare Fest is a great opportunity to come out, meet the experts and learn how you can keep your family safe.”
Following the seminar, participants will take part in a mock evacuation training drill for the Civic Center Music Hall. Civic Center staff and volunteers will execute their plan to evacuate people from a large event, while participants observe the evacuation as it happens.
In addition, a free lunch will be provided at noon for the first 1,500 seminar participants courtesy of Municipal Employees Credit Union.
Participating partners include the Oklahoma City Office of Emergency Management, Oklahoma City Police Department, Oklahoma City Fire Department, Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management, Oklahoma State Department of Health, Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Oklahoma City Animal Welfare, KOCO-Channel 5, American Red Cross, American Storm Shelter Association, Oklahoma Insurance Department, National Weather Service, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, EMSA (Emergency Medical Services Authority), United Way of Central Oklahoma, Neighborhood Alliance, Long-term Area Recovery Committee and Oklahoma Gas & Electric.
A popular event for kids, Prepare Fest will also include the Oklahoma City Touch-A-Truck program featuring vehicles from the OKC Fire Department, OKC Police Department, National Weather Service, the KOCO storm chaser truck, the American Red Cross response truck and others.
“Everyone has a role to play in keeping Oklahoma City safe,” said Sergeant Jason Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department. ‘The See Something, Say Something’ campaign encourages the public to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to local law enforcement.”
For more information, call the Civic Center Music Hall at 405-297-2584 or the Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department at 405-297-3882.