Rocky Fork Enterprise

Service fair helps families prepare for unexpected

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What's your emergency?

A free preparedness event of the same name is being held for all central Ohio residents, providing disaster planning, safety tips, self-defense demonstrations and other community resources.

Sponsored by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the "What's Your Emergency" fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at Gahanna's Friendship Park, 150 Oklahoma Ave.

Ada Richards, service committee co-chair, said her church performs a lot of community service, and the Big Walnut Creek Ward of the church is hosting the inaugural preparedness fair.

Vendors will include representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the American Red Cross, Cintas, the Department of Homeland Security, the city of Gahanna and the Franklin County Health Department.

"The Columbus State Community College Fire Academy will be there with a fire truck, and Gahanna police will bring police cars and SWAT," Richards said. "We have Homeland Security setting up a command center, and the city of Gahanna is going to also be there to share resources that are available locally."

Kelly McGuire, public-affairs officer for Franklin County Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said CERT volunteers would distribute literature and answer any questions people might have regarding the CERT program and ways to get involved.

CERT training is designed to prepare residents to help themselves, their families and the community in the event of a disaster or other emergency.

The community-based first-response force takes action immediately after a disaster and currently includes about 200 Franklin County residents, McGuire said.

Representatives from Shelf Reliance will be on hand at the fair to talk about emergency food storage, including freeze-dried food, and information will be offered about water preservation.

"We have a Bishop's Storehouse that's like a food bank," Richards said. "If someone is having problems meeting their needs, they go to our bishop and talk to him. It's like our church welfare system. They will be there to talk about the Bishop Storehouse, helping members and nonmembers alike."

The Oriental Martial Arts College will provide self-defense demonstrations, and two local bands -- Ice Room Scandal and Classic Rewind -- will perform.

"For the kids, there will be clowns and face painting," Richards said. "The firemen will let kids try out the equipment."

More information about the event is available online at emergencyfair.com.

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