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FEMA will teach protective measures for gathering spots

Workshop aims to help gathering spots prepare for emergencies

Published: Friday, July 26, 2013 9:09 a.m. CST

Many have emergency plans for their homes if a disaster were to strike, but emergency officials remind people that disasters don’t wait for you to get home.

A Federal Emergency Management Agency Protective Measures Workshop is being held Tuesday, July 30, for Grundy County businesses, churches, organizations and other agencies to put a plan together in case a natural disaster occurs while everyone is together in a place of work, worship or gathering.

The workshop is free and will be offered in two sessions Tuesday —  10 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m. — at the Morris Fire Protection and Ambulance District’s Fire Station 2, 2301 Ashton Road, Morris.

Locally the hope is to get people at the workshop who run the festivals, race track, sporting events and other activities and places that bring large amounts of people together, said Karen Nall, United Way of Grundy County executive director.

“The hope is for it to be one more added thing to make everyone prepared and spark conversation,” she said.

“Even if we reach one person, we’ve educated someone,” she continued.

The workshop is being brought to the county by the Grundy Emergency Management Agency, United Way, Grundy County Farm Bureau, Grundy County Soil and Water Conservation District, Community Foundation of Grundy County, and FEMA.

“FEMA reached out to us and said this was available to you and I reached out to the people who could get the job done,” said Jim Lutz, director of the Grundy EMA.

Grundy was declared a major disaster area after the April 18 flood that caused some areas in the county to be evacuated, including Morris Hospital. Since then, more resources have become available from FEMA, including financial assistance, workshops and other resources.

“Especially after the flood in April, maybe (those effected) will re-evaluate what they did and see if they need to change their plan and can come here for that,” said Natalie Mahler, resource conservationist for the soil and water conservation district.

Because space is limited at the workshop, businesses and organizations are asked to send just one person to represent them who can return to train other employees and members, said Lutz. As of July 24, 19 people were signed up.

With the disasters that have happened in the area in recent years, preparedness is key and this workshop is a great start, said Lutz

Attendees must sign up for the workshop by Monday. To attend, RSVP to the United Way at RSVP@UWGrundy.org. A name, phone number, email address and which session is preferred are all required for the RSVP.

For more information, call the United Way of Grundy County at (815) 942-4430.

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