The Carbon County Citizen Corps Council and Community Emergency Response Team wants people to be prepared during emergency situations.

That's why, Sept. 7, 8, and 9, 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.

"The whole point of this is to make the public aware of what they should have ready in case an emergency happens," said Tony Walck, president of Citizen Corps. "They should have enough to sustain them for three days."

He noted that CERT classes, which are being offered three days starting Sept. 10 at the Emergency Management Agency in Nesquehoning, help area residents by preparing them for emergency situations. Currently over 500 residents have taken the CERT classes, which 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.

"You should always be prepared in case you have to evacuate and go to a shelter, you need ample supplies," he said.

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.

Both Walck and Fredericks noted that in addition to emergency kits for your home, you should also have one prepared for your vehicle, as well as for your workplace.

"God forbid you get stuck, your car breaks down or you can't leave work, you will still have your essentials," Fredericks said. "It's always good to be prepared no matter what."

The kit Citizen Corps will be giving away to one person includes items like a bottled water; drink mix packets; snacks; can opener; canned goods; disposable utensils, plates and cups; paper towels; flashlights with batteries; 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 [1] and www.readyPA.org [2].

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.