KHTS Emergency Expo event officials announced Friday that an access hour for special needs individuals and their families is planned as part of this year’s exhibition.
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The free access hour gives special needs individuals and their families the opportunity to interact with Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies, firefighters and other first responders, as well as learn how to be prepared for a real emergency.
“We formed a committee in Santa Clarita in 2006 to address issues of people with disabilities in police encounters and emergencies,” said Emily Iland of Santa Clarita Autism Asperger Network, one of the creators of the access hour. “We have a goal of improving informal relationships between people with disabilities and first responders.”
The KHTS Emergency Expo is part of the fifth annual KHTS AM-1220 Santa Clarita Home and Garden Show, a free two-day event scheduled for March 29 and 30, and features more than 60 exhibitors with products, services and information on emergency preparedness.
In addition to first responders, a variety of animal organizations will also be present with their animals, including kittens and puppies available for adoption from Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control, a trained Search and Rescue horse, cats from the nonprofit rescue Feline Underground Network and a snake, among other animals, from Placerita Nature Center.
Information about the Special Needs Registry and how to generate Missing Persons Flyers in minutes will also be given to attendees.
“People with disabilities may have special needs in an emergency and we’d like the police and first responders to get to know people with disabilities in their own community and be more familiar,” Iland said. “And people with disabilities need help, for example, to reduce their fear of the police or the equipment. Our goal is to have everyone be more comfortable with each other in a small, special environment.”
“The KHTS Emergency Expo is a wake-up call and a reminder for everyone so that they can go through their checklist and make sure they have the right supplies and the right plans for dealing with the next emergency we have here in Santa Clarita,” said Carl Goldman, co-owner of KHTS. “Santa Clarita is a poster child for disasters. Since we’ve owned the radio station, we’ve had the major earthquake in Northridge, three sets of floods, seven or eight major fires, a tunnel explosion that sealed us off from the San Fernando Valley… So the day is going to come when we have another disaster. The more prepared we are for a disaster, the better we’re going to be in dealing with it and also with our recovery.”
Every year, the KHTS Emergency Expo is presented in cooperation with the City of Santa Clarita and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. This year’s event is sponsored by American Medical Response and The Facey Medical Group.
A Kid’s Zone will entertain children with a bouncer, video games, face painting and special building and gardening activities just for kids.
The special needs access hour will take place from 9-10 a.m., immediately before the KHTS Emergency Expo opens to the public, on March 29 at the Hyatt Valencia parking lot.
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