FIRST AID: County Preparedness Fair unveiled to help prepare families for disaster crises

Jim Philpot of the Marion County sheriff?s office fingerprints one young man while his older brother looks as part of the department?s Child Identification program, one many services available to families at the Saturday fair.With more than 260 people taking advantage of the opportunity in its first year, organizers say the first Marion County Prepared?ness Fair was a success.

?We?re very happy with how things went, we?ve already started planning for next year,? said Randy Frank, director of the county?s Emergency Man?age?ment office.

The fair was open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Marion County Fairgrounds.

Joining Frank on the planning team were Diedre Serene, administrator of the county health department, and Russell Groves, a ham radio operator from Hills?boro.

Some 14 area medical and emergency-response agencies and organizations were invited to be on-site for the event. Learning opportunities ranged from canning, food storage and water purification, to developing a family emergency plan, to poison prevention.

Randy Frank points out the artistic effort one of his favorites in the school color contestFamilies were given the opportunity to receive immunization shots from the county health department, have their children fingerprinted by local law enforcement for safety identification, and participate in a story-time provided by the Hillsboro Public Library.

Elementary school students in the county were invited to enter a coloring contest related to the preparedness topic.

The winners in grades three through five were: Caleb Burkholder, Goessel; Emersyn Funk, Hillsboro; Janessa Sutton, Peabody; Mickelly Soyez, Marion; Bobbi Barrell, Centre.

The winners in kindergarten through second grade were: Kendal Girard, Goessel; Trinity Espinoza, Centre; Isabelle Richards, Marion;Christopher Spencer, Peabody: and Landen Hein, Hillsboro.

In addition to the indoor station and activities, LifeTeam out of Wichita provided one of its air ambulances for viewing, and the Hillsboro Fire Department displayed its new pumper truck.

a family huddles to hear information at the county health department boothFrank estimates that no more than 1 to 2 percent of Marion County households have established?and regularly rehearse?a plan to respond to emergencies such as a fire or tornado.

?It?s because it hasn?t been on the forefront of their minds,? he said. ?(They think) ?Life is good, why do we need this right now? We?ll deal with it when it happens.? But some people, when they get to that point, (emergency planning) becomes overwhelming. That?s when we step in to help them out.?

The inspiration for the event was National Prepared?ness Month in September, Frank said.

?I?ve noticed that in the documented past we haven?t done anything to help prepare people in the county through my office,? he said. ?We?re doing our inaugural fair. It will help people prepare for disasters and get them ready?because if they?re prepared, they will be able to respond well and they will be able to help others, too.?

Frank said he intends to make the fair an annual event and looks for it to expand and improve with each year.

?There are a few other avenues that we?re looking at already,? he said. ?It?s going to be a long-term event, not just a one-year thing. It?s something I truly believe that the folks here within our county will definitely benefit from.?Merlin Funk (foreground, right), a member of the Hillsboro Fire and Rescue team, visits with a LifeTeam nurse about the air ambulance on display.

Written By
More from Don Ratzlaff
Classification changes reflect enrollment loss
The classification changes announced earlier this month by the Kansas High School...
Read More