Expo held to educate on hurricane readiness

GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – On the first day of summer, it’s hard to find an attraction more inviting than the beach. Nevertheless, an event in Gulf Shores drew in a moderate crowd of people, eager to learn how to protect themselves from another summer staple – dangerous tropical weather.

“I think the biggest thing I want to know is what to do to be prepared ahead of time and then also what to do in case there’s a threat, whether we’re here or whether we’re not here,” Dee Dorch, a summertime resident of Gulf Shores, said.

“It’s helpful that they have checklists, pamphlets, things we can take back and read and hopefully come up with our plan,” Amy Massengill, another resident, said.

Experts at the expo said that’s the key to getting through any type of severe weather scenario: have a plan.

“They need to have a sense of preparedness and not complacency, so that they’re ready when something happens,” Danon Hoagland, planning and grants coordinator for Baldwin County Emergency Management Agency, said.

“Making sure that you take a home inventory, making sure that you have a listing of all of your important items in your home. People also should look at taking pictures of those,” Roszell Gadson, a spokesman for State Farm, said.

Booths like the one for Baldwin EMA were also trying to give people a full sense of the various threats the Gulf Coast may face.

“In addition to hurricanes, tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and the threats that can come along with those and also winter weather and things we don’t usually see. Just kind of give them a more global perspective on what they do need to think about,” Hoagland said.

And while the focus of the event was on bracing for severe weather, there were other areas of education too, like teaching folks about beach nesting birds.

“When you get close to them, they’ll fly up from their nests and you won’t see a bird on the nest, so you could easily step on the eggs and crush them. So we’re just trying to make people aware, you know, when they’re walking on the beach, to just keep a watchful eye,” Katheryn Harris with the American Bird Conservency said.

Which really does fit with the overall theme: be prepared.

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