Whether you own a home, run a business, or serve as a community leader, you will find helpful proactive steps at the Community Floodproofing Expo from 3-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Charleston. The event is free and open to the public.

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina illustrates the devastating impact that a natural disaster can have on the lives and livelihood of disaster victims,said Peter Marshall, a West Virginia University Extension Service community development specialist.

The expos debut during the national disaster is purely coincidental.

Because September is National Preparedness Month, Marshall explained, the community Floodproofing Expo was organized to be part of the nationwide observance.

We in West Virginia should reflect on our needs and opportunities to better prepare ourselves for the mostly likely disasters that could affect us. In West Virginia,he said,natural disasters are likely to include flooding.

The expo will provide an opportunity for residents and community leaders to see products and to talk to suppliers, service providers, manufacturers, consultants, and government agency representatives about all types of measures that reduce flood damage.

Preventative measures include elevating buildings; elevating appliances; putting up temporary and permanent flood barriers; preventing sewer backflow; using flood-resistant materials in”wet”areas; and making buildings watertight through dry floodproofing measures.

The Floodproofing Expo is being held as part of a National Floodproofing Conference being held in Charleston by the Association of State Floodplain Managers.

Local sponsors include the City of Charleston, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Emergency Management Agency, West Virginia University Extension Service and West Virginia Office of Emergency Services.

For more information about the expo or the National Floodproofing Conference, visitwww.floods.org