Church sponsors Sept. 14 fair promoting emergency readiness

Tony Casey • Sep 9, 2013 at 4:00 PM

It was Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “it takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.”

A plan is exactly what those involved with University Parkway Baptist Church’s Emergency Preparedness Fair, on Sept. 14 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., are promoting.

In the midst of National Preparedness Month, with the taste of the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001, still fresh in their minds, the church and Tri-Cities organizations have put together an event to remind the public to have a plan in place in case of an emergency.

The emergency might be natural, or it might be something unnatural, like a terrorist attack, but the response should be mostly the same.

Dawn Day, an Emergency Services Manager with the northeast Tennessee chapter of the Red Cross and one of the organizers of the event, says the fair will feature piles of information involved with preparedness for any kind of disaster.

She and the Red Cross tell people they should have enough supplies to last them three days. A pack, which might be a backpack or a Rubbermaid container, could include a flashlight with extra batteries, a battery-powered radio, food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated, water, cash, backup documents and more. Even if this level of preparedness isn’t achieved, Day said even a plan to have a meeting place in the middle of an emergency puts people in a much better position than the opposite.

“The better prepared they are, the better off they’d be,” Day said.

The information, giveaways and demonstrations are what has one of the church’s pastors, Scott Thompson, excited about the fair. He said he was approached by the Red Cross and other Tri-Cities groups to put on this event. He said he wants to spread the important information all across the region, not just in Johnson City.

“This whole idea came from 9/11, to get Americans to prepare better emergencies,” Thompson said.

He said he’s seen what tornadoes and flooding can do to the region, and being prepared for those situations is crucial to survival because it’s not uncommon for those things to happen around the area. Too often people find themselves relying on first responders and emergency services, and they might not always be available.

Thompson said a Johnson City urban rescue team will be on site to carry out demonstrations, such as people dropping off the face of a building with ropes. The church will be giving away 20 preparedness packs. There will also be lots of information available, lots of expert advice and lots of vendors and food at the family event. Entrance to the fair is free.

He said he hopes people will see those who are prepared, and get inspired to get their own plan in motion.

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