[nggallery id=2]

Sunny skies brought out almost a thousand visitors to this year’s 5th Annual Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair Saturday October 6th, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. hosted by LAFD Station #87 Captain Smith and station personnel; Chatsworth, Granada Hills North, Granada Hills South, Lake Balboa, Mission Hills, North Hills West, Northridge West, Northridge East, Northridge South, Porter Ranch, and Reseda Neighborhood Councils; and Councilman Mitch Englander.

This year’s event was a huge success in raising awareness of the importance of being better prepared for emergencies and disasters. Attendees were able to walk around, visiting different tables and booths to learn about whatever component of emergency preparedness interested them. People came to enjoy themselves and have a good time while getting an education, having fun, and working as a community.

Visitors had the opportunity to experience an earthquake simulation in the Yogi Bear’s Shakey-Quakey School House. American Red Cross Children’s Safety Puppet Show, LADWP Electric Diorama and Safety Demonstration, LAFD Jaws of Life car extraction, Video Game Parties 2 U mobile video game bus, US Navy and US Coast Guard Auxillary, ham radio demonstrations were enjoyed by all.

LAFD Battalion Fire Chief – and Northridge West Neighborhood Council President – Gerry Malais explained that the first 72 to 96 hours after a disaster, the emergency services will be overwhelmed handling priority emergencies, requiring residents to be self sufficient during that time. Having three or more days of food, water, medical, and pet supplies is imperative so that you’re not dependent on overwhelmed city services.

Northridge East Neighborhood Council President Steve Patel stated “The Neighborhood Councils were really happy to be able to give back to our communities, by holding this event so everyone can learn to be self-sufficient and not rely on emergency services during the initial hours after a disaster.”

Dan Tomlinson KI6YOW, and Marty Woll N6VI, members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS) a group of ham radio operators said that if all regular communications were disabled, during a disaster ham radio operators will assist in bridging those lines of communications to rescuers.

Fire trucks and rescue vehicles ranging from hook and ladder engines, pumper trucks, rescue Ambulance, hazardous materials squad, and battalion command vehicle were on display inside the fire station.

Four hundred family emergency preparedness starter kits, two backpacks filled with emergency preparedness supplies, as well as popcorn, hamburgers, hot-dogs, ice cream, Chick-Fil-A sandwiches, bottled water, and BodyArmor SuperDrinks were provided free, compliments of the above Neighborhood Councils, Chick-Fil-A, Republic Services/Sunshine Canyon Landfill, Councilman Mitch Englander, Facey Medical Group, and Be More Prepared Charity Advisors.

Over Twenty vendors participated in this year’s event including California Highway Patrol (CHP), Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD), US NavyUS Coast Guard Auxilliary, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Facey Medical Group, Chick-Fil-A, Video Game Parties 2 U, Greater Los Angeles County Vector Control District, Republic Services/Sunshine Canyon Landfill, SOS Survival Products, Pet Preparedness (Komfykritr), New Age Pet Supply, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), LAFD Auxiliary Communications Service, and ham radio operators were present providing information and resources to help you, your family, neighbors, and businesses be more prepared when a disaster strikes.

A special thank you to Bill Hopkins for his commitment and attention to detail in organizing this year’s fair and LAFD Captain Smith and the LAFD personnel @ Fire Station #87 that assisted in the Fair as well as the entire Valley Disaster Preparedness Fair Team of volunteers and attendees that helped make this year’s event a huge success.

Tom Johnson