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Disaster doesn't wait — in Santa Clarita, prepare for 2008

LIVE from City Hall

Posted: April 13, 2008 1:17 a.m.
Updated: June 14, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Finding yourself in the center of either a natural disaster or an emergency of some sort can be a trying experience. These disasters and emergencies never call us to schedule a visit, or send an e-invite to let us know ahead of time what is planned, but instead they happen without warning. This can lead to much more chaos than necessary if we are unprepared for the unexpected emergency.

The city of Santa Clarita is no stranger to emergencies, having been victim to the recent Buckweed Fire, flash floods, and let us not forget, earthquakes. As a result of the city's first-hand experience with emergencies of this sort, the City Council has proclaimed April as Emergency Preparedness Month. The city is thus preparing and proactively planning ahead while encouraging residents to do the same.

On Saturday, April 19, the city will host the 16th annual Emergency Preparedness Expo at College of the Canyons from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Expo is free to attend and is set to entertain as well as educate the whole family. There will also be many various preparedness giveaways for attendees at the many exhibitor booths.

One-stop shop
For those who are environmentally conscientious, reusable shopping bags made of recycled materials that display a personal emergency checklist will be handed out at the city's Community Emergency Response Training booth. Also, the Energy Coalition will be there and will hand out not one, but two free compact florescent light bulbs to each household. The Emergency Expo is a "one-stop shop" for answering questions relating to what to do in the event of an emergency, as well as the aftermath.

CERT will provide demonstrations that are designed to teach preparedness and will also cover the basic skills that are important to know when emergency services are not immediately available. Those participating in the demonstrations, such as operating a fire extinguisher, will learn how to recognize the potential hazards that arise in emergency situations and the appropriate response that is needed in those situations.

When preparing for an emergency, it is important to consider the needs of your entire family by having a week's supply of imperishable food and water for each member of your household. If you have a pet, you should also prepare supplies for your animal as well. So if you are interested in purchasing any needed emergency supplies after watching the demos and viewing the displays, there will be first-aid and other preparedness supplies available for purchase for your family and pets to stock up on.

A myriad events and fun activities for kids will be offered at the Expo, such as a kids' games, a kids' craft clinic provided by Home Depot, preparedness bingo, face painting, and free fingerprinting provided by the SCV Optimist Club.

Kids are encouraged to bring their bicycles to the Expo for the kids' bicycle safety rodeo, which is provided by State Farm Insurance. There will also be drawings for free safety helmets at the city's Share the Road booth - all kids need to do is answer a Share the Road safety question correctly.

Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency will display its mobile hospital, which includes 10 beds as well as two operating rooms. These mobile units will demonstrate their level of preparedness in the event that hospitals are unavailable in an emergency. Local and county veterinarians will be on hand to discuss your pet's safety and health in the time of an emergency.

An early access hour with the CLEAR (Community and Law Enforcement Aware Response) project will start at 9 a.m. for individuals and families with special needs. A special needs registry will also be available at the CLEAR booth. This registry is available to assist individuals who are at-risk during emergency situations due to limited communication, age, emotional, behavioral, or cognitive disabilities, or other disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease.

Those attending the Expo will also get a taste of some good old traditional campout cooking because the Girl Scouts will be there in full force, handing out delicious samples of their campout delights.

The L.A. County Fire Department will also be at the Expo providing demonstrations of dog search-and-rescue services.

Earthquake simulator
In addition to all of the free give-aways, demonstrations, delicious food samples, available supplies for purchase and children's activities, you can come and learn about the importance of emergency communications and ham radios, brush up on your motorcycle safety training and watch a National Weather Service Doppler radar demonstration at the Expo.

If none of the above entices you to join your fellow community members at the Emergency Preparedness Expo, then perhaps you'll be motivated from the fact that there will be an earthquake simulator available as well as a quake walk game with prizes for those who participate.

Go home loaded up with emergency and safety preparedness information and supplies from Santa Clarita's 16th annual Emergency Expo. There will be many vendors with unique products and services to enhance your personal and family safety - such as earthquake shut off-valves, fire safes, restoration services and pool fencing, just to name a few. For more information, call the city at 661-255-4965 or visit www.santa-clarita.com.

Laurene Weste is a Santa Clarita City Council member. Her column reflects his own views, not necessarily those of The Signal. "Live from City Hall" is a column provided to The Signal by the city of Santa Clarita.

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