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Emergency Preparedness Fair in Pocatello

From everyday emergencies like a power outage, to the once-in-a-lifetime Charlotte Fire last June, being prepared for them could mean the difference between life and death.

“Preparedness is something that we can do at different levels. but definitely it’s an individual thing,” says Farhana Hibbert, Public Affairs Director for the Pocatello East Stake. “You have to individually make the decision to be prepared, and as a family it’s important to be prepared.”

This fair, now in it’s third year, addresses the needs of the community in terms of preparedness and likelihood.

Power outages often occur, and while rare, earthquakes also make themselves known. There are obvious hazards like fire, as well as a few tornadoes in the past.

Even high winds can cause power to go out, and during the winter time, pipes can freeze and cause problems getting water in your own home.

With these kits, additional food storage and making plans with your family for emergencies, not only can you be prepared for an emergency, but you may also handle the stress and panic that comes with it.

With other emergency situations, like burglary, fire or other emergency in your home, you can prepare by having a planned escape route.

Tell your children that they can climb out of certain windows, or point out other escape routes. Pick a spot within a reasonable distance away to have your family meet.

“These are just certain things we can do to make ourselves ready for those situations,” stated Del Symons, Fair Organizer.

In extreme scenarios, like the Charlotte Fire, many evacuees worried about irreplaceable items, like photographs, important documents and even animals. But they failed to have an emergency kit with food, water and basic sanitation items.

The displays included kits for cars, packed with numerous items: flaslight, shovel, additional clothing and blankets, hand warmers packets, first aid supplies, and small amounts of food and water.

Additionally, those involved said it is also a good idea to have a sleeping bag if possible. They also mentioned having a portable cell phone charger in your car at all times. That way you may be able to make phone calls even if you are in a remote area.

They also stated that in-home kits, which tend to have more in them than the travel-type kits, will also be helpful if you have to leave your home for an extended period of time during an emergency.

“If you have a 72-hour kit, those people that were prepared could throw that kit in their car, and they’re out of there,” said Symons. “They have stuff that they can get by own their own with without assistance for at least three days.”

The Pocatello East Stake coordinated the entire event, and asked many outside sources, like the fire department, neighborhood watch and even their own church members to share their knowledge with the community.

“We generally have a pretty good turnout, two-to-three hundred, maybe 400 people. We hope even more this year than we’ve had in the past,” Symons said.

One display focused on keeping children calm and happy, with suggestions to keep them occupied, and even just let them occupy themselves.

The display specifically mentioned keeping children away from media that cover the emergency, like a fire, tornado or earthquake, to avoid causing panic.

Establishing some type of routine during an emergency will also help ease the stress for both you and your children.

Being prepared with basic kits and knowledge could make a world of difference for yourself in an emergency, as well as those in your community.

“That just brings about a stronger community, and brings about a more prepared community that’s better able to handle whatever comes its way,” said Hibbert.

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