|Local children check out the firetruck at the emergency preparedness and health fair.|
How prepared are you in the event of a natural disaster or an act of terrorism. In order to better prepare the county for the unexpected, the Emery County Sheriff's Office planned an emergency preparedness fair to increase awareness among county residents.
Local boy scouts presented a flag ceremony to kick-off the fair.
A variety of booths were set up in the Emery County Recreation Center on Sept. 24. A number of community members became involved with the event. The booths contained valuable information packets and handouts to fair goers.
Sgt. Martin Wilson from the Emery County Sheriff's Office is the Local Emergency Planning Committee chairman, he said, "The county is doing well in emergency preparedness, but there is always room for improvement as we have seen with the events in New Orleans. New technology makes it important to keep up on all the latest developments in this area. People need to update their 72 hour kits, to fit their current situations. Clothes packed away years ago are probably not going to fit that child now. People here are not totally oblivious to what they need, but they need to keep everything current in their kits. We need to make being prepared a part of our lives. We are trying to get enough interest in training more Red Cross workers for our area. It will be a countywide disaster relief training. The Red Cross will come down and train the volunteers, contact me at the sheriff's office if you're interested in being involved. This will help our area to more adequately respond in the event of an emergency. We have to know our needs to let the government know what to bring in.
"There is no right answer in emergency situations. Like with New Orleans, how many hurricane warnings have they had along the gulf over the years. They haven't evacuated every single time, and think of the chaos if they had tried, look what happened in Texas. There are no right answers and it is a no win situation. With Katrina they did evacuate a lot of people. More could have been done to bus those without transportation out of there. You always have those who refuse to leave, no matter what. In that situation, they knew the levies were bad, and the city was below sea level, so they should have had emergency supplies in water tight containers, but they didn't. In our area, we need to think about having supplies in light weight containers, because you might be packing it with you. In the event of an earthquake here and the dams holding the reservoirs were to break, we would probably only have one to two feet of water standing in some areas, it probably wouldn't inundate everywhere. Most of our homes are single level dwellings which hold up better in earthquakes and our people don't live in a really condensed area. But, these types of disasters devastate people mentally. We are not used to them and they upset us. We have never had to evacuate, we can't fathom a disaster. But, in Utah we are known for just getting things done, when there is a disaster we stand up and go take care of it. Like with the Teton dam break in Idaho, the citizens had already taken control by the time FEMA arrived to aid. Some citizens will be mentally unable to comprehend and cope with a disaster.
|Genevieve Lake tests the blood pressure of Judy Visser.|
"Citizens will likely be upset if they can't communicate with their families and know they are OK. You need to develop a family plan for communication in the event of a disaster. Call a relative out of the area to report your condition. Have everyone call that same relative. Have an evacuation plan and a route of travel everyone would follow. If you are prepared, then you will react in the way you have prepared. We need to know the basics. In law enforcement with New Orleans, they lost 400 law enforcement officers, many of them left to take care of their own families. As law enforcement, we need to know that our families are taken care of so we can do our jobs to help the general public. I would like to put together some training for deputies and their families to see that they are taken care of. As with everyone our families are our main concern. We can't do our jobs if the safety of our family is in question. We need those officers to be on duty in the event of a disaster and they can be if their families are taken care of. Even small disasters go better if you are prepared. Maybe some situations aren't life and death, but some issues are comfort related. We are doing a good job, but as citizens there are areas we need to improve," said Sgt. Wilson.
The Emery Medical Center had a booth set-up where they checked blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Utah Power displayed the dangers of power lines and being aware of where you are and what you're doing as it relates to safety with electricity.
A number of local groups performed at the fair including: face painting with RJ the Clown, Canyon View Cheerleaders, San Rafael Cheerleaders, Spardettes, Jones Brothers Band and Miss Emery, Shala Pitchforth. The Taiko performers from Moab seemed to be a big hit with the audience as they performed several drum numbers.
Judy Lang, fingerprinted children and took information on each child. Barry Cook, optometrist performed eye examinations for those who wanted to participate, free of charge.
Much information was handed out giving instructions on what to expect in a disaster. Information included: earthquakes, food storage, drug education, domestic violence, fire, HazMat, mental health, communications, water storage, flood, child and neighborhood watch, cell phone recycling, child identification and DNA, Workforce Services job fair, injury prevention. The Castle Dale fire department was on hand to display a fire truck.
The Emery County HazMat trailer displayed all the materials needed to handle hazardous chemical spills. Concessions were also sold at the event.