He is making people smile wherever he goes and also sharing important safety information. His name is Mearle, the Johnston County Preparedness Squirrel.
Mearle stands for Making Everyone Alert And Ready To Learn Emergency Preparedness.
Two years ago, Johnston County Emergency Services officials began discussing ways to improve outreach with the community, especially young children, according to Sandy Wood, Emergency Management Division Chief and Coordinator. The idea for Mearle was born and has envolved into a character who teaches life safety and fire prevention measures.
Wood said Mearle will be used for fire department, EMS and emergency management events. “The goal is to get people to understand how to be safe,” Wood said while showing a new coloring and activity book Mearle hands out at public safety events to children.
The new mascot was recently introduced to Johnston County Commissioners. Mearle has already made a few public appearances. And wherever he goes, people are going nuts over him!
Mearle will be making appearances at festivals and events where Fire or EMS officials are present to help promote safety messages.
Mearle will also be participating in teen safety driving events and visiting Johnston County senior centers, said Kevin Hubbard, Emergency Management Director. Mearle was created by emergency management officials to make education and learning about safety fun for all ages.
“The message is what’s really important,” Hubbard said, adding there are many safety messages Mearle and department leaders want to share. “From emergency preparedness, hurricanes, major weather events, Mearle will help get our message across.”
Mearle is even featured in his first ever Facebook video released this month.
If your organization would like to request a fire or EMS safety presentation from Mearle, the JoCo Preparedness Squirrel, and the Emergency Management staff fill out this form or call the department at 919-989-5050.