Tuesday , 25 October 2016

Shaking, Rattling and Rolling to Preparedness

APPLE VALLEY: Furniture rattled against the walls as books flew from their places and small objects filled the air. A computer monitor crashed to the floor as household plants fell like mighty trees. I glanced to the people sitting on the couch as they held on for dear life, then shifted my gaze to the smiling stranger bracing himself on the opposite side of the room as I wondered how much longer I could stand unassisted. Suddenly everything stilled, the people on the couch rose and thanked the stranger, laughing at the gymnastic skills I had used to stay afoot. We were inside the “Big Shaker”, the largest mobile earthquake simulator in the world; my fellow survivors were the very important leadership of Shake, Rattle and Roll, Chairperson Erin Fox and Co-founder Craig Garrick, along with a couple of members from their team, and the stranger was Dean Reese from Ready America, the company that owns the Big Shaker. We had just experienced what a M8.0 earthquake would feel like, and it was very clear that trying to gather scattered supplies or move at all would be close to impossible.

This was the fifth year of the annual Shake, Rattle and Roll Emergency Preparedness Fair, and it was a huge success. Hosted at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Apple Valley, many businesses, emergency response agencies and volunteer groups showed up to educate the public on preparing and dealing with disasters. After being greeted by church volunteers directing parking and handing out brochures, I headed into the church to see what awaited. I peered into the first room I came to, seating was packed from front to back, standing room only with overflow coming out of the door. At the front of the room was a presenter from the American Red Cross covering disasters and using social media in times of emergency, along with handing out information books.

I slipped past the crowd gathered outside the door and moved on to a room full of people getting hands on with raw chicken. After my initial surprise, I saw an instructor demonstrating how to suture a wound, an invaluable skill in a post-disaster setting. Community members of all ages learned how to close an open wound by practicing on the raw meat. Talk about not playing with your food!

American Medical Response attended the event with an ambulance on display and a booth full of information, as well as a free class on compression only CPR, where you could try your hand on a CPR “dummy” and learn about the life saving resuscitation skill.

Inside the gymnasium many vendors were set up, giving away free supplies and teaching about skills such as water purification and storage. I talked to Jerry Shelton at the water treatment and storage table, and he took the time to do a quick video with me about the important information at his booth. As a service to the community, he and his wife offer 55 gallon water storage barrels for only $15. If you are interested in purchasing a water storage barrel, contact the Shelton’s at: 760-912-9387. Never drink water that has not been treated, as that can induce diarrhea and vomiting, further dehydrating you. There are many ways to purify water before drinking, but the easiest is to have clean water safely stored before a disaster strikes.

Next I talked to the wonderful ladies from the Apple Valley Home Depot. They had some fun supplies they were giving out to children and a layout of tools and supplies that adults should have on hand for emergencies. “It’s so cool to see everyone in the community and interact with them”, said Misty McNeal, sporting an orange Home Depot apron and stick-on fire badge with the rest of her colleagues. To her right Brittany Bowden was handing out smaller versions of their aprons, getting kids ready for some serious disaster preparing without getting dirty. Mary Peters was in charge of the tools side of the display, and with good reason according to her coworkers. “She’s the DIY Queen, she seriously is”, Elvia Munoz told me as the other ladies echoed agreement.

Peters conceded that she is actually pretty handy with a set of tools. She informed me that every third Thursday of the month she teaches a Do It Yourself class for women, where ladies can learn how to use different power tools and do creative projects, all for free, with all the tools and supplies provided for them. Although this is a fun class, it helps teach skills that are extremely important to know in an emergency situation. For more info head down to the Apple Valley Home Depot or visit their website: http://www.homedepot.com/l/Apple-Valley-CA/CA/Apple-Valley/92308/6834

I stepped outside into the perfect spring day and talked to several vendors all of whom were excited to be helping the community. Apple Valley Fire District Chief, Sid Hultquist said “The beauty of coming here today is all these agencies working together, in one place, to teach these skills.” AVFD brought a Type I Engine along with their Emergency Communication Service mobile command center. Both were open to the public to explore and learn about. Chief Hultquist spoke extremely highly of the volunteers that man the Emergency Communication Service, explaining how they keep radio communications available in a time of disaster when other communication lines have gone down. Even if the regular dispatch centers go down, the mobile ECS command center is able to broadcast and communicate by Ham radio with a range of 50-150 miles depending on a variety of conditions. Ham radios do not require any satellites, wires, or communication towers and content is broadcast from one radio to another without having to use other equipment that may have been destroyed or overloaded in a disaster. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with the ECS and becoming a licensed Ham radio operator, contact Larry Miller at: klarrymiller@hotmail.com. If you are already a licensed radio operator and want to talk to Larry, listen for his call sign: KJ6MYV

 I eventually made it to the Apple Valley Community Emergency Response Team or C.E.R.T. booth. The C.E.R.T. program teaches residents and employees how to take care of their families and business operations during a disaster. Members of C.E.R.T. are encouraged to be self-reliant for a 10 day period after a disaster and will be able to extend their knowledge into the neighborhood after caring for themselves and their immediate loved ones. The Apple Valley C.E.R.T. program is sponsored by the Apple Valley Fire District and the Town of Apple Valley. For more information or if you are interested in joining, call 760-247-7618 ext. 106 or email Dawn Harrison (C.E.R.T. Commander) at: jmharrison33@verizon.net.

At the C.E.R.T. booth I crossed paths with Erin Fox. Fox is the Chairperson of Shake, Rattle and Roll and introduced me to Co-founder, Craig Garrick, the Stake President for the Apple Valley Stake from the Church of Latter-Day Saints. Garrick and Lavaun Hulterstrom started the annual event after feeling that there was not enough emergency preparedness/awareness within the church and throughout the community. Hulterstrom stepped down and Fox was asked to take over and became Chairperson two years ago.  At first they had to contact vendors to attend the event, but quickly people started reaching out to them and asking to volunteer. Fox said that they try to change things up every year so that there is always a fresh pallet of information and activities to partake in. This year some of the highlights included the Big Shaker, the Pinkerton Puppet Show that gave out free backpacks to kids for their disaster supplies, and the presentation by the American Red Cross on using social media in an emergency situation. Fox learned of social media being used to communicate with loved ones after the Boston Bombing, and she said, “I thought that was a good idea. People need to know about that.” They also brought in Capstone Financial to give advice on being financially prepared for an emergency, something that is often overlooked in preparing for a disaster. “We wanted to focus on recovery too because after a disaster, it’s not just about the disaster, it’s also about recovery. How is everyone going to come together and help each other, and recover? We would love to join with other faith based communities and have them, you know, come and join us or we join them and do a group effort. Because that’s what it is, a community group effort” Fox said.

“Erin’s comment is really important, because it is a community, it isn’t just a single church or a single institution, it’s a community working together and it’s really nice to have other groups join it and be a part of it” Garrick stated.

“Disasters have no boundaries, political affiliation, religious boundaries; there’s no boundaries in a disaster, we are all in it together” Fox stated adamantly,  as she and Garrick both repeated how they would love to have more people join them in preparing the community. Garrick and Fox overflowed with thanks and appreciation for all the volunteers, businesses, agencies, groups and people from the community that gave their time or donated supplies to help everything come together.

Overall an estimated 1,200 to 1,500 people attended the event, American Medical Response taught 137 people hands-on CPR, and approximately 1,675 volunteer hours were donated to bring this event together.

Here is a list of the agencies that donated time, supplies, and/or took part in this event:

  • American Medical Response – Dedicated to making a difference by caring for people in need
  • American Red Cross – Provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies
  • ARMAC Insurance – Minimizing Risk, Maximizing Protection… We are your ONE RESPONSIBLE SOURCE!
  • Apple Valley Fire Protection District – Enhancing the quality of life for our citizens and visitors through the protection of live, property, and the environment from the effects of fire, health and hazardous threats
  • Apple Valley Ranchos Water – Conserving today for tomorrow’s emergencies
  • Apple Valley Sherriff’s Citizens on Patrol (COPS) – Fingerprinting Children for Safety and Neighborhood Watch
  • Apple Valley Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Posse – So that others may live
  • Apple Valley Unified School District (AVUSD) – Preparing Our Students for Their Future
  • AVUSD Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) – Student-led, professional organization for any student aspiring to enter the healthcare field
  • Capstone Financial – Providing our clients with confidence through proper life planning and financial guidance
  • CERT (Community Emergency Response) – Doing the greatest good for the greatest number
  • Choice Medical Group
  • CHP (California Highway Patrol) – Safety, Service and Security
  • County of San Bernardino Special Districts Department
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Relief Society (Woman’s Organization) – Strives to help individuals and families prepare for life and events that will come
  • ECS (Emergency Communication Services) – HAM Radio Volunteers, who assist the AV Fire Protection District with Emergency Communications utilizing command post 331
  • FADD (Friends of Animals During Disaster) – Educating the community on resources for pets during emergencies
  • Girl Scouts of Can Gorgonio Council – Growing girls with courage, confidence and character!
  • Go Foods – Saving Families One Meal at a Time
  • Home Depot – More Saving. More Doing.
  • The ISU Group – Insurance. Healthcare. Technology.
  • Kiwanis Club of Apple Valley – Serving the Children of the World
  • Lions Club of Apple Valley – Volunteer support for the community, especially vision and hearing, also scholarships through our Student Speaker contest
  • Lowes – Never Stop Improving
  • NAPA Auto Parts
  • Parkway Dental
  • Provident Living – Preparing for the ups and downs of life
  • Purofirst Fire and Water Restoration – Provides education on disaster preparedness, our services and post disaster expectations
  • Ready America – The Disaster Supply Professionals
  • Rotary Club of Apple Valley
  • San Bernardino County Auto Theft Task Force (SANCATT) – A task force comprised of law enforcement officers from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino Police Department, California Highway Patrol, San Bernardino County district Attorney’s Office, and the California State Department of Insurance
  • San Bernardino County Sherriff’s Department
  • Saint Mary Medical Center – To extend the healing ministry of Jesus in the tradition of the Sister of St. Joseph of Orange, by continually improving the health and quality of life of people in the communities we serve
  • ServiceMaster Clean – ServiceMaster: Restoring Peace of Mind
  • Southern California Edison – Safety around electrical facilities is important, and reviewing electrical safety tips with SCE, friends, neighbors and loved ones can help them stay safe
  • Southwest Gas – “Safety, Service, Reliability”
  • Staples
  • Town of Apple Valley – Provides and supports a variety of events that will help meet the educational, cultural, social and recreational needs of our residents and visitor
  • Victor Valley Rescue Mission – With the support of our community, we offer: Refuge, Recovery, and Restoration
  • Walmart – Save Money. Live Better.
  • Walgreens – Help people get, stay and live well
  • Wheeler Dentistry


About the author

Arrow Santos: I am a photographer and EMT and I strive to live my life to its highest potential, I love doing things outside, I have a passion for helping people, and I enjoy spending time with my family and friends.

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