Yamhill County Emergency Managements Preparedness Fair seeks to train for all scenarios

A tornado, a shooting, an earthquake or a zombie apocalypse — they could happen. To prepare, Yamhill County Emergency Management has coordinated the third annual Preparedness Fair to provide the community with skills and information that could help in an emergency.

“It’s kind of like a tool box,” said Sue Lamb, assistant emergency manager for YCEM. “Some have a box, but no tools. Others have lots of tools, but don’t know how to use them. So we teach how not to be scared of it.”by: GARY ALLEN - Training - Scenarios that involved mass casualties, hazardous materials spills and others will be discussed Saturday at the Preparedness Fair.

The fair started three years ago as what Lamb called a “brainchild.”

“We had a keynote, vendors … it was actually pretty well attended. We put it together in six to eight weeks,” she said. “Last year we did the zombie apocalypse theme and had 18 sessions, vendors, a lot to offer and about 350 or 400 people attended. Because it’s a countywide event we wanted to move it around, so that’s how we ended up in Newberg at Newberg High School.”

The fair takes place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday with a number of sessions scheduled. Brittney Jeffries, city of Newberg public affairs officer, said the theme, “Are We Ready?” comes from its common occurrence in every day life.

“It’s a reoccurring theme,” Jeffries said. “Everyone is always asking `Are you ready? Are we ready?”

Lamb said the fair will show attendees how to take what they already have — camping gear, for example — and plan for the “what ifs.”

“It’s mostly about planning how to get ready,” she said.

With recent tragedies in mind, she said local schools have stepped up this year as well.

“They will give a presentation themselves on what they do to keep kids safe in our schools,” Lamb said. “The police department will also give a presentation on how we respond if there is an active shooter crisis in schools.”

But she said not all of the presentations will be on such scary topics.

“If we need to evacuate, what to do with animals and livestock? If you take a road trip what you’ll need to bring. How to cook without power using a Dutch oven (and) other life skills,” she said. “What we’ve seen around this country the last few years is anything can happen anywhere, so we need to be prepared. It’s not to put fear (out there), but what can we do to be smart, to be ready.”

Although she said the chances of natural disasters, terrorist attacks or other emergencies are unlikely, it could happen.

“So we do have to plan for that as a responsible government agency, as responsible citizens,” she said. “We can’t have our heads in the sand.”

The keynote address will be given by Lane Roberts, police chief from Joplin, Mo.

“I’ll be speaking about the experience with the Joplin tornado (in 2011), what worked, what didn’t work and the changes needed to be better prepared for the next time,” Roberts said.

He said after the support Joplin received from the world, sharing his experiences is the best way to repay that debt.

“The best way to repay debt is to help people profit from what we’ve learned, to help them be better prepared,” he said.

For more information contact Lamb at 1-971-241-1433.

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