This story has been updated.
PINE PLAINS, N.Y. -- The first of a series of training sessions for citizens to prepare for and respond to any type of disaster was held Thursday May 12 at the Pine Plains Community Center.
The training is free and open to the public. No pre-registration is required. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Each family receives a free Citizen Preparedness Corps Response Starter Kit.
Other training sessions are planned later this month in Beekman and Amenia, and in June in the Town of Hyde Park. (See details below.)
Thursday's Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response training session ran from 7 to 9 p.m. at the community center located at 7775 South Main St. in the Town of Pine Plains.
William H. Beale, coordinator of Emergency Management for Dutchess County, said that about 40 to 50 people typically attend each training session.
The two-hour training session is designed to provide participants with the tools and resources to better prepare for any type of disaster. Participants will learn how to respond accordingly in a disaster and recover as quickly as possible to pre-disaster conditions.
Previous citizen preparedness training sessions were held in Pawling, Unionvale and the City of Beacon, according to Beale, who called them popular and successful. The county hopes to average about three training sessions monthly in 2016.
The training program is being provided by the Dutchess County Departments of Emergency Response and Behavioral and Community Health.
The next two Dutchess County training sessions will begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday May 17 at Beekman Fire Department and 7 p.m. on Tuesday May 24 at Amenia Town Hall. The day and site for the June session in Hyde Park has not been finalized, Beale said.
Dutchess County’s Medical Reserve Corps and the Dutchess County Animal Response Team also participates in the training.
The ongoing sessions are part of the Dutchess County Department of Emergency Response’s citizen preparedness training initiative which is being offered regionally throughout Dutchess County this year.