As Marion County’s first ever “Preparedness Fair” wound to a close Saturday after receiving over 200 attendees, event volunteers Russell Groves and Renee Aldrich discussed preparations for next year’s event.
They thought adding financial planning would be valuable.
“Financial planning appears very early on the wheel of preparedness,” Aldrich said.
Preparing for and weathering emergencies such as an extended food shortage, power outages, and job losses could be difficult without proper financial planning and resources, they said.
“We were actually preparing for next year’s fair two weeks before this year’s event,” director of Marion County Emergency Management Randy Frank said. “There’s a lot that needs to be done.”
Frank said the addition of financial planning information could also help county businesses preplan for a disaster.
Event activities at this year’s “preparedness fair” included everything from flu shots to a Lifeteam helicopter demonstration.
“We came to get a hot dogs and flu shots,” event patron Angie Rosario said. “But we also really enjoyed learning a lot about food storage.”
With over 37 years of food storage experience, Aldrich provided a plethora of information on the topic.
She said clear plastic pop bottles are an efficient and economic food storage container because of their oxygen barrier qualities.
“The low oxygen content of the sealed containers protects stored food from insect infestation and helps preserve product quality,” she said.
Used in tandem with oxygen absorbers and proper sealing techniques, she said these containers are well suited for short and long-term storage.
A helpful item distributed at Frank’s booth was a “20-weeks to Preparedness” calendar to use a guide to develop an emergency kit.
“Many folks don’t know the right path to preparation,” he said. “Some might have a little water put up and a flashlight, but may not be otherwise prepared.”
A big part of that mentality involves anticipation of emergency events and long-term planning, Frank said. The idea of preparedness might best approached as an everyday practice.
In preparation for this year’s flu season, Marion County Health Department immunized about 23 children free of charge.
Jessica Lopez had her three children immunized at the event, but she said her children were more excited to see the Lifeteam helicopter.
Lopez’s 11-year-old daughter, Kaylee, also won a duffle bag with a first aid kit and other preparedness supplies inside.
Hillsboro Police Department distributed complete child ID kits that included ways to gather children’s fingerprints and DNA should a child need to be identified.
Richard Reimer of the Hillsboro Lions Club, presented information on the Kansas Yellow Dot Program, which encourages people to keep medical information in their vehicles in order to be better served by medical personnel in the event of an accident.
Groves presented information on “off the grid” amateur radio operation, while the Mennonite Disaster Service provided information on their volunteer network that focuses on clean up, repair, and rebuilding homes after a disaster.
“From a tornado to unemployment, disasters come in all shapes and sizes,” Frank said.
Frank encourages individuals and groups to contact him about preparedness. He can be reached at (620) 382-3462 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Coloring contest winners
Two students from each county school won a preparedness kit with light sticks, whistles, and first aid supplies for coloring a picture of a family assembling a preparedness kit.
Winners are as follows:
Trinity Espinoza and Bobbi Barrel.
Kendal Girard and Caleb Burkholder.
Landen Hein and Emersyn Funk
Isabelle Richards and Mickelly Soyez
Janessa Sutton and Christopher Spencer.