SANDPOINT — The goal of the Panhandle Preparedness Expo is to educate and prepare people for any catastrophic event, natural or man-made, that may occur.
In North Idaho, possible catastrophic events include earthquakes, wildfires and ice storms, said event chair Penny Cosner.
“People don’t realize they can be without electricity for several days or weeks,” she said. “So that is kind of what we are gearing toward.”
While the purpose of the preparedness expo remains the same each year, the event has seen some changes over the years. The first preparedness expo in 2016 was held in October, but was moved up to September in 2017 to coincide with National Preparedness Month. It also started as a one-day event, but has evolved into a full weekend of workshops, presentations and exhibits. Most recently, however, the name of the event changed this year to better suit North Idaho, as it was formerly known as the Inland Northwest Preparedness Expo.
Featured speakers this year include Glen Tate, author of the “299 Days” series, who will talk about prepping; John Jacob Schmidt, founder of AmRRON, a nationwide community communications network, who will discuss emergency communications; and author Shelby Gallagher, who will be talking about “Prepping from a Woman’s Perspective.” Some of the other topics this year include food storage and food safety for emergencies, active shooters, bee keeping and more.
Except for when the keynote speakers are presenting, Cosner said there will be two classes going on at the same time for people to choose from throughout each day of the event.
About 30 exhibitors, including Bonner County Emergency Management, Wrenco Arms, Bee Safe Security, the Community Emergency Response Team, Off Grid 48, Sand Creek Custom Wear and Brights Solar, as well as Idaho Rep. Heather Scott among others, will be in attendance at the expo throughout the weekend.
Food vendors will be on hand as well, including local 4-H youth who are returning this year, Cosner said.
“The 4-H kids have been great, and it gives them a chance to raise money for their cause,” she said.
The fourth annual preparedness expo will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. Admission is $3, or $2 with a non-perishable food donation for the Bonner Community Food Bank. A two day pass can be purchased for $5 as well, and admission is free for kids 12 and under.
The speaker schedule, list of exhibitors and other information can be found at panhandleprep.org.
Mary Malone can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.