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During a previous Madison ReadyFest, this group supported the safety event with their help. These city employees at that time were Director of Engineering Gary Chynoweth, from left, Madison Senior Center Director Vickie Parker, Deputy City Engineer Michelle Dunson, Mike Gentle with Public Works Department and District 1 City Councilmember Maura Wroblewski. CONTRIBUTED

ReadyFest returns to underscore need for preparedness

MADISON – “Be prepared” is the prevailing message that residents can explore with Madison ReadyFest 2023, a city-sponsored event.

Discovery Middle School will host the event in the gym on Feb. 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“After a three-year absence due to the pandemic, ReadyFest is back with the theme, ‘When life happens, you need a plan,’” Maura Wroblewski said. She is City Council liaison to ReadyFest. “We’ve learned so much in the last years since the pandemic began.”

Madison ReadyFest will focus on “Community Lifelines” from the Federal Emergency Management Agency or FEMA for preparations for disasters. A lifeline allows continuous operation of critical functions for business and government. Emergency workers will cover wide-ranging needs during or after a disaster:

* Safety and security – Involves first-responders, such as police, firefighters, American Red Cross, vendors for tornado shelters and financial assistance.

* Food, water and shelter – Looks at these critical, survival needs. Examples are canning procedures, gardening and water filtration.

* Health and Medical – Includes tour of ambulance, screenings and the medical supply chain.

* Energy – Displays for solar energy and home generators.

* Communications – Explains alerts and warning sirens; 911 calls; ham radios; and dispatch and first-responder conversations.

* Transportation – Displays equipment for winter weather by Public Works Department employees.

* Hazardous materials – Defines facilities that create these substances, along with HAZMAT and contaminant concerns.

“It’s critically important for our families to be prepared should we have an area-wide weather event or a personal family event with a situation that may seem overwhelming. We have wonderful resources in our community where we can share information to prepare for any event,” Wroblewski said.

“ReadyFest is an opportunity for preparation for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest. Madison Fire and Rescue Virtual Reality equipment will be onsite to teach folks how to escape a burning building,” Wroblewski said. A few displays will foster ideas for preparedness efforts.

“Madison police will discuss Rape Aggression Defense or RAD classes and have personnel onsite to discuss personal, family and neighborhood security,” Steve Perry said. Perry is ReadyFest coordinator and works as Battalion Chief and City Emergency Manager with Madison Fire and Rescue Department.

Madison and Limestone County EMAs will attend with a Mobile Command Trailer. Huntsville Hospital’s Mobile Medical Unit will offer health screenings. Individuals can speak with mental health therapists.

Organizers hope the SARTEC K9 unit can attend with a demonstration. Vendors like Rhodes Construction with tornado shelters will offer a ReadyFest discount. The event includes food trucks, giveaways and indoor and outdoor presentations.

During ReadyFest, a donation drive will support Madison City Schools’ “Weekend Snack Pack,” endorsed by Trinity Baptist Church and Asbury Church.

“There will be something for everyone,” Wroblewski said.

ReadyFest is scheduled intentionally on the last Saturday in February, coinciding with Alabama’s Weather Preparedness Weekend.

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