By Stefanie Donahue
Are you prepared for an emergency?
If you answered “no” to that question, folks with NorthWest Emergency Preparedness (NWEP) encourage you to stop by an upcoming emergency preparedness expo. The event is free and takes place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, March 25 at the Blaine Pavilion, located at 763 G Street.
“Most emergency events aren’t something you can schedule and be immediately prepared for,” said Richard Martin, director of the Blaine-based nonprofit.
That very notion is what prompted him to found the organization in 2011. Since then, NWEP has grown its core volunteer base to about 10 members who help lead monthly meetings about emergency preparedness planning.
Martin pulls his experience from years of service in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence operations specialist. Later in his career, he worked as a licensed private investigator and went on to establish a training company that specialized in personal security.
In 2005, Martin, his wife and young daughter endured hurricanes Katrina and Rita after relocating to Baton Rouge from his home state of Arizona in 1998. The storms resulted in hundreds of deaths and left thousands without a place to call home.
The experience sparked Martin’s desire to start becoming better prepared to care for his family in the event of an emergency. However, when they moved to Blaine in 2011, he didn’t find what he was looking for. That same year, Martin founded NWEP with a mission to educate the public about region-specific emergency preparedness with historic data and expert sources.
“I really enjoy helping people,” he said. “And I’m a complete information junkie.”
Since its founding, NWEP has maintained a presence in the community at events and monthly meetings. The group’s Facebook page “NW Emergency Preparedness” also features regular posts about issues impacting the area. Martin said the upcoming expo is the first event the organization has hosted.
Representatives from agencies throughout the county will be present, including the Blaine Police Department, North Whatcom Fire and Rescue, Whatcom County Search and Rescue as well as Whatcom County and Blaine community emergency response teams and more.
All ages are invited to stop by and take part in a variety of displays, demonstrations and discussions, Martin said. The event will feature lessons on how to make an emergency kit, identify local hazards, develop self-sustainability and wilderness skills as well as where to find advanced training resources in the
To learn more about the upcoming event, search “2017 NWEP Emergency Preparedness Expo” on Facebook.