HERMISTON - A new public information officer has been hired for Morrow County's Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program.

Maureen Roxbury of Umatilla is filling the spot, said Casey Beard, Emergency Management Director for Morrow County.

The job of PIO is to educate citizens about the threat posed by the chemical weapons stored at the Umatilla Chemical Depot, and how to protect themselves if chemicals are ever released, Roxbury said.

She will provide information and education for residents of Morrow County through outreach events, handing out informational brochures and posters, Wally Wise Guy appearances and keeping the media informed of CSEPP activities.

One of her first activities as PIO was to get Wally Wise, CSEPP's mascot, to work with the Umatilla Volunteer Fire Department in handing out candy to children in the city of Umatilla.

"Children didn't just get to tell Santa what they wanted for Christmas as he handed them their bag of candy, they got to hear the message about sheltering in place from Wally's buddy, Maureen Roxbury," Roxbury said.

She added that in a joint effort to "spread holiday cheer," CSEPP and the Umatilla Fire Department spent seven hours canvassing the streets of Umatilla contacting citizens and handing out candy with informational brochures and magnets about the sheltering in place program to more than 300 citizens.

Roxbury is known in the region through various volunteer activities and as director of the Round-Up City Cloggers.

Questions about sheltering in place, assembling a shelter kit, choosing a shelter room or other ways to prepare for an emergency can be directed to Roxbury by calling 922-4437 or at www.csepp.net.

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