Advisory committee to hold Fort Detrick expo on April 30

The Frederick Containment Laboratory Community Advisory Committee recently announced that it will hold an expo on April 30 to give residents of Frederick, Maryland, answers to questions about safety risks at nearby Fort Detrick.

The expo and open house will take place from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 30 at Hood College. The school's biology department is hosting the event and will include representatives from National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, the Frederick News-Post reports.

The event is meant to answer community questions about the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center, which is located at Fort Detrick. Members of the city and county will be able to ask about the biological pathogens studied at the lab, the economics behind the lab and whether or not the lab is a potential health and safety risk to the community.

The CLCAC is planning the event around hundreds of questions asked by the community. The labs are working with the committee to focus on answering public safety questions.

Beth Willis, the chairwoman of the CLCAC, said the people of Frederick need information directly from the labs.

"The CLCAC decided early on that we would not give reassurances to the public that everything is perfectly safe," Willis said, according to the Frederick News-Post. "To begin with, we have no way of judging that. We don't do oversight and have no authority. We also think that giving blanket reassurances is condescending to and dismissive of the public's concerns. Instead, we've sought what we hope is useful fact-based information from the labs."

There will be no speeches at the event, which will have more of a science fair or open house environment than previous meetings, the Frederick News-Post reports.