“Be prepared, not scared.”

That’s the message from the Ellis County Office of Emergency Management as it prepares to host the third annual Ellis County Preparedness Fair in Midlothian this weekend.

Attendees will meet with local law enforcement officers who will offer on-site training and tips on how to respond to weather-related disasters and other emergencies.

“People will have a better sense of how to not only prepare for these situations but also what they can do in the aftermath,” Ellis County Public Information Specialist Nathaniel Pecina said. “They will be given some basic necessities for emergency situations, as well as be trained on what they can do now to prepare.”

Pamphlets, first-aid kits and other free emergency essentials such as space blankets and flashlights will be provided by the Salvation Army of Ellis County and the United Way of West Ellis County.

“It serves as a reminder that we all must take action to prepare now and throughout the year for the types of emergencies that could affect us where we live, work, and visit,” said Ellis County Emergency Management Coordinator Samantha Pickett in a press release this week. “We tend to overlook the small details when we are in the thick of it, and we just want to have fun while we provide a way for every member of the family to learn how to better protect themselves, their pets, and their livestock.”

While emergency management is no laughing matter, residents will have the chance to have fun while they learn. They will explore first responder vehicles and all their intricate details. Local vendors, including H-E-B, will hand out free food and other freebies.

The ECOEM partnered with Ellis County law enforcement departments to host the pet-friendly and family affair. It is held in September to coincide with National Preparedness Month. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Prepared, Not Scared.”

The outdoor event was canceled last year due to bad weather. It will be held at the MISD Multi-Purpose Stadium at 1800 S 14th St. in Midlothian on Sept. 21, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, follow the Ellis County Office of Emergency Management on Facebook, Twitter or visit their website.