Getting ready for disaster

Community Resilience Fair will offer skills training and resources for emergency preparedness

Between the flooding that occurred in Seward last October to the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck last November, the Kenai Peninsula has seen its fair share of natural disasters recently.

In an effort to help residents prepare for the worst, the Kenai Peninsula Borough’s Office of Emergency Management is holding a Community Resilience Fair on Saturday at the Peninsula Center Mall. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will feature 17 different local organizations, including the Red Cross, the Independent Living Center and Central Emergency Services. These organizations will offer skills training, emergency supplies, and information about disaster preparedness.

Jade Gamble, program director for emergency management, said that the focus of the event will be teaching people how to put together emergency kits and how to formulate emergency response plans. “We’re doing this so our community can withstand and respond quickly to emergencies,” Gamble said.

The idea for the event first came about as a response to the flooding in Seward, and it was only two days after OEM had started planning for the event that the earthquake hit, Gamble said.

Gamble and her team took this as a sign that they needed to put this resilience fair together as soon as possible. While OEM has not done anything like this in recent memory, Gamble said that several more of these could happen over the next year depending on the response from the community and the resources available.

Each organization that is participating will bring something different to the table. Central Emergency Services will be teaching ways to safely heat your home when the power is out. The National Guard will be giving hands-on training in disaster first aid. Soldotna Public Safety Communications Center will be giving information on how to receive alerts from the borough during and after a disaster. Gamble said that OEM has tried to provide as many resources as possible for the event, because the community can never be too prepared for all of the different ways disaster can strike.

The Community Resiliency Fair will take place on Saturday, March 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Peninsula Center Mall in Soldotna. The event is free to the public.

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