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A day at the Expo

COC hosts 17th annual emergency awareness fair

Posted: March 22, 2009 1:39 a.m.
Updated: March 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Alexandra Acevedo, 7 months, of Valenca, found her junior fire helmet a tasty treat at the Emergency Expo held at College of the Canyons Saturday.


Children gasped and laughed Saturday at the 2009 Emergency Expo as a Southern California Edison representative used a miniature display to demonstrate what would happen if a person flew a kite too close to a power line.

Wearing heavy-duty gloves, Richard Bouley used a rod to push a figurine toward an imitation power line; a small electrical current created orange sparks at the connecting point.

"If you don't know about electricity, don't mess with it," Bouley warned the children.

The service planner for Edison's Valencia office repeated the action with other miniature figurines on the table-top display - a man fixing an antenna on the roof of a house, a sailboat on a lake, a tree standing too close to power lines.

Ethel Kawada of Santa Clarita asked Bouley for advice about trees in her yard.

"If you have a concern about a tree on your property, call us," Bouley said, adding that someone would come out to the property to evaluate the hazard and trim the tree.

After learning about more safety tips, Kawada called the display outstanding and interesting.

"You learn a lot about electrical disasters," Kawada said. "This is one of the most valuable displays for homeowners."

Southern California Edison was one of 80 exhibitors at Santa Clarita's 17th annual Emergency Expo held in the College of the Canyons' lower parking lot Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Families walked from table to table to learn about emergency safety tips and services for their households and pets. Activities included CPR training, a Girl Scout cook-out demonstration and rides on Yogi Bear's Quakey Shakey Schoolhouse, where children sat at desks during a fake earthquake.

Children climbed inside fire trucks and police cars. Visitors also had the chance to observe the FBI underwater dive team's emergency-response boat, gear and rescue equipment for the first time in the event's history.

Families toured one of the event's biggest highlighted features, a 1,000-square-foot, 11-bed emergency mobile hospital of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services' Emergency Health Agency.

The $5.3 million hospital on wheels, used for major disasters, is one of only two in the nation paid for Department of Homeland Security grants, said Roel Amara, the department's acting chief of disaster management.

"We have all the medical equipment needed to take care of a patient. We have blood pressure machines, we have thermometers," Amara said, as parents and children roamed the unit.

"We also have four monitors ... that will take care of more critical patients, and they can do invasive pressures (and) invasive heart monitoring."

Canyon County resident William Sears, who toured the mobile hospital and participated in other activities, said the Expo provided a fun way for his children to learn about safety.

"We went in the earthquake simulator," Sears said. "The kids really learned a lot ... so now they know what one feels like."


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