News: Cherry Point to stage fair for disaster prep
Story by Cpl. Scott L. Tomaszycki
MARINE CORPS AIR STATIO NCHERRY POINT, N.C. - Cherry Point is scheduled to host an Emergency Preparedness Fair in the Commissary and Marine Exchange parking lots Friday from 1 to 6 p.m.
The fair offers information and tips for planning for a variety of emergencies, resources for news and information updates and steps to take prior to and during these events.
The fair originated as an annual town hall meeting required for the air station’s StormReady accreditation status. StormReady is a program that validates a community’s ability to react to severe weather events. During the planning evolution of the town hall meetings, station organizers decided to take an all-hazards approach and teach people how to handle many different life-threatening situations in which they may find themselves.
“We looked at everything from destructive weather, to fire safety, explosive hazards, car seat checks; a number of different safety initiatives came together to create this event,” said Grant Dehaven, the mission assurance program manager of Cherry Point. “It grew to a massive collection of all kinds of different preparedness you can have.”
Grant said that as a military base, Cherry Point is home to people from all around the country who are acclimated to the weather patterns of their home regions, not necessarily to North Carolina’s. Because of this, the fair seeks to inform people who otherwise may not know how to deal with hurricanes, storm surges or tornadoes.
“We’re requesting that people have their own emergency preparedness plan and have a kit prepared so that if an event happens, they just grab that box and go,” said Etta Lucas, the installation emergency manager for Cherry Point. “We want to tell them what resources are available on the air station as well as in the local community. It’s a tool to help prepare for any type of emergency.”
Emergency responders will be present with displays and demonstrations. Military working dogs, a Marine Transport Squadron 1 search and rescue helicopter, an explosive ordnance disposal team, fire department vehicles and a “smokehouse” where people learn how to escape a fire will be among the displays on site where experts will answer questions and offer tips.
Both the Marine Corps Exchange and commissary will provide lists of available items useful for emergency preparedness kits.
Fairgoers are encouraged to take brochures and information with them to learn how to best deal with potentially dangerous situations.
“The best way for us to mitigate any incident is to educate,” said Lucas. “That’s what we’re doing, getting out and educating.”