County Comment/Citizensí Emergency Preparedness Day Set for September 11

by Norman Bassett
Washington County Public Information Officer

The Hagerstown/ Washington County Community will come together on September 11th, 2004 to honor those fallen in service to their country and to prepare citizens for the possibility of future emergencies.
A series of events, sponsored by the Washington County Board of County Commissioners, the Mayor and Council of Hagerstown, the countyís Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, Valley Mall, Washington County Citizens Corps and Partners in Preparedness, will take place in Hagerstown City Park and at Valley Mall on Halfway Boulevard. Coordination for the events has been provided by the Washington County Emergency Management Office.
Daylong ceremonies will begin at 9:00 a.m. in City Park with a Tree Planting Ceremony. Four trees will be planted to memorialize Career Firefighters, Law Enforcement, Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Medical Services and Active Military personnel. One representative from each discipline will participate in the tree planting, law enforcement and fire department Chaplains will speak, Firefighter Rick Conrad will play a selection on the bagpipes and a moment of silence will be observed for those who lost their lives in the September 11th attacks as well as for members of the military who have served or are serving in the Iraqi war. The trees have been donated by local businesses. Flags will be presented by the Washington County Delegation, Washington County Commissioners, and City of Hagerstown City Council.
Following conclusion of the ceremony, a Processional from City Park to Valley Mall will take place. Each fire, emergency medical, and law enforcement company will be invited to have one marked unit from their company participate.
The events will continue at 10 a.m. at Valley Mall on Halfway Boulevard, with a Wreath-Laying Ceremony. Honor Guards representing law enforcement, fire, and military will place wreaths at the Remembrance Wall located at Center Mall.
Citizenís Emergency Preparedness Day Kick-Off will begin with Proclamations presented by Washington County Commissioners, City of Hagerstown Mayor and Council and the Washington County Delegation.
Throughout the Mall, local support agencies that are utilized during an emergency or declared disaster will provide emergency preparedness material for citizens. Citizens will have an opportunity to fill out membership applications to join any of these volunteer emergency services agencies.
The Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross will offer free CPR certification to those who pre-register. Hagerstown Community College has offered their facilities at the Valley Mall to accommodate this class.
Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) will consist of two scheduled demonstrations of Emergency Response Training by those who have been trained by Washington County Emergency Servicesí Emergency Management Agency. Citizens will be invited to sign up to take this training.
Throughout the Mall, Emergency Preparedness videos will be shown.
Valley Mall is serving as the host for the activities. The Washington County Board of County Commissioners and the Mayor and Council of the City of Hagerstown are sponsors of this annual event. The Washington County Citizen Corps and Washington County Emergency Services/Emergency Management provide coordination for the day.
For more information, please call Verna Brown, Emergency Management Administrator, at 240-313-2904.