Update: A previous version of this article stated that Northern Light Health would host a COVID-19 vaccination clinic. That clinic has since been canceled.
Maine has seen spring flooding, summer drought conditions and fall windstorms in recent years, which is why emergency management leaders want to give residents tools to be prepared for such natural disasters that have become more frequent and intense.
They hope to do that at the Eastern Maine Emergency Preparedness Expo, set to be held at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11.
The expo, a collaboration among emergency management agencies in Hancock, Penobscot, Piscataquis, Waldo and Washington counties, seeks to help individuals, businesses and organizations prepare for emergency situations.
The effects of Hurricane Ida, which left more than 45 people dead across the East Coast this week and took many in the region by surprise, show the importance of being prepared for natural disasters, said Bradley Nuding, director of the Penobscot County Emergency Management Agency.
Nearly 50 exhibitors will be present at the free event, educating people about emergency management, fire protection, disaster relief and emergency sheltering for humans and pets. Exhibitors will include the Bangor Humane Society, Bangor Fire Department, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Volunteer Maine and the American Red Cross.
The expo will emphasize the importance of being equipped for an emergency, including having a family preparedness kit. In situations that delay emergency responses, having those items on hand could just save people from injury or death, Nuding said.
“No level of government can fully assist an individual household or community,” he said. “There is a lot of work that can be done at the local level to make sure that everyone is resilient when it comes time for a disaster.”
The expo is being held in conjunction with National Preparedness Month, a Federal Emergency Management Agency-sponsored observance created in 2004 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
It will also happen on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. A 1 p.m. ceremony to be held outside by the Paul Bunyan statue in front of the Cross Center will commemorate the occasion. A member of the National Guard will speak with the Bangor Fire Department providing the honor guard.
It is recommended that attendees wear masks to the event. There will be other coronavirus precautions, Nuding said, including spacing out vendor tables and making sure there aren’t too many people congregating nearby at one time.