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Hundreds learn about emergency preparedness through Gear Up. Get Ready! events

State Sen. Pat McGuire (back, from left), State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. and Will County Executive Larry Walsh join youngsters at the Housing Authority of Joliet’s Des Plaines Community Center on June 9. The children showing that they are prepared in case of an emergency are: Jakira McWright (middle row), Diamond Odaniels, Christina Holman and Dejah Sanders; Aminah Bryant (front row), Cayden Summers and Marshawn McCullom. (Photo courtesy of Will County Executive Larry Walsh’s office)

State Sen. Pat McGuire (back, from left), State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. and Will County Executive Larry Walsh join youngsters at the Housing Authority of Joliet’s Des Plaines Community Center on June 9. The children showing that they are prepared in case of an emergency are: Jakira McWright (middle row), Diamond Odaniels, Christina Holman and Dejah Sanders; Aminah Bryant (front row), Cayden Summers and Marshawn McCullom. (Photo courtesy of Will County Executive Larry Walsh’s office)

JOLIET – More than 500 people learned about emergency preparedness at a trio of events in Lockport and Joliet that mixed fun with information.
Gear Up. Get Ready! debuted June 8-9 in Will County, the first of six counties scheduled to host such events as part of an educational campaign designed through the Regional Catastrophic Planning Team. The group includes 16 counties in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Along with the official Gear Up. Get Ready! van and photo backdrop, Will County Emergency Management Agency staff members and volunteers provided balloons and other goodies, as well as conducted emergency preparedness assessments and helped families build communications plans to be used in case a catastrophe hits. The events were held at Dellwood Park’s touch-a-truck day in Lockport, and at the Spanish Community Center and the Housing Authority of Joliet’s Des Plaines Street Community Center.
“It was a wonderful mixture of fun and education for the kids and adults,” said Will County Executive Larry Walsh, who attended the event at the HAJ Community Center, along with State Sen. Pat McGuire and State Rep. Larry Walsh Jr. “It was great to see the families that participated. And thank you to all of the organizations that participated, as well.”
Particpating groups were: American Red Cross, Catholic Charities, Grace Bible Church from Minooka, the Joliet Fire Department, the Joliet Police Department, National Hook Up of Black Women, Second Baptist Church of Joliet and Silver Cross Hospital. The Will County dental van was also on hand and staff members offered screenings and cleanings. Silver Cross Hospital staff members offered blood pressure and blood sugar screenings, and the police department did children’s IDs.
In all, 550 people were served during the three events, said Harold Damron, Director of the Will County EMA. “We’re grateful that we could partner with the Gear Up. Get Ready! campaign and all of the community organizations to help spread the message about individual and family preparedness. A little effort to prepare beforehand can be the difference when an emergency or disaster strikes.”
Information about emergency preparedness can be found on Will County EMA’s website, www.willcountyema.org and on its Facebook page. Those interested may also check out www.gearupgetready.com.
EMA is under the Will County Executive’s office.

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