The Carbon County Citizen Corps Council and Community Emergency Response Team wants people to be prepared during emergency situations.
That's why, Sept. 9, 10, and 11, the group will have a free informational booth set up at the Palmerton Community Festival to provide people with information and checklists on what they should know in case of an emergency. They will also give away one emergency supply kit on Sunday evening.
Megan Fredericks, administrative assistant at the Carbon County Emergency Management Agency, explained the activity is being held this month because September has been named National Preparedness Month by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
"We do this to make the public aware what they should have in case an emergency happens," said Tony Walck, president of Citizen Corps. "They should have enough to sustain them for 72 hours."
He noted that CERT classes, which are being offered three days starting Sept. 19 at the Emergency Management Agency in Nesquehoning, help area residents by preparing them for emergency situations. The classes include basic first aid, fire suppression, and search and rescue skills. To sign up for the course, call the EMA at (570) 325-3097.
Walck also recommended that anyone interested in becoming a CERT member visit the booth at the festival or call the EMA for more information on the group.
He then spoke about the importance of an emergency kit.
"A lot of people are not aware of the items they should have on-hand in the case of an emergency," Walck said, noting that you should always be prepared for any type of emergency because you don't know when one will hit.
Fredericks added that a person's emergency kit should be tailored to their lifestyle and family size.
Inside the kit, items should include medical records and contact lists, but after that, it can be filled with anything.
The kit Citizen Corps will be giving away to one person includes items such as a bottled water; drink mix packets; beef jerky; fruit snacks; granola bars; instant pudding; can opener; canned goods; disposable utensils, plates and cups; paper towels; flashlights with batteries; dust masks; duct tape; emergency blanket; garbage bags; tarp; stationary; crayons; playing cards; activity books; notebooks; address book; first aid kit; hand sanitizer; ponchos; whistle; lighter; personal hygiene products; and more.
Fredericks urged families with children to remember to pack items to keep the kids occupied; and if they have pets to create an emergency pet kit as well. Checklists for creating an emergency kit are available at www.ready.gov and www.readyPA.org.
Also in attendance at the festival will be members of the Carbon County Animal Response Team (CART) and members of Storm Watch, who will all be located with the CERT team.
Walck said the groups go hand-in-hand.
From past experiences, he learned that many people will not leave their home in an emergency if they can't take their animals. These teams help to alleviate that issue.
The CART team is always looking for volunteers, the next meeting of the group will be Sept. 27, at 6:30 p.m. at the Carbon County EMA building.
Citizen Corps is also always looking for new members, the next meeting of the group will be held Oct. 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the EMA.
This is the fifth year the Carbon County Citizen Corps has given away an emergency supply kit at the Palmerton Community Festival. The idea first arose after Fredericks visited the Ready.gov website.