‘When disaster strikes, it’s too late’


Story by Lynn Johnson

How would you fare in a disaster? Would you
panic or would you be able to think logically
and make informed decisions? Helping you
to consider various emergency scenarios was the
focus of a community preparedness fair on Oct. 19
that featured 56 booths and had more than 1,000
Sponsored by the Tempe South Stake, located
at 1111 E. Knox Road, Tempe, and the neighboring
Mesa Alma Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints, the fair provided education and
demonstrations on everything from soup to nuts—or,
in this case, from dutch oven soup to how to store
“There were no vendors selling products,” noted
Co-chair Joyce Jones. “Each booth was staffed by
volunteers with expertise in a particular area. This
was all about educating the public.”
Craig Brown, of Chandler, had a booth showing
alternative methods of cooking if without power. “I
heard several times from attendees that they had
purchased a solar oven, or a pressure cooker or a
dutch oven several years ago, but they had never
really used it yet.
“Part of the education and excitement of the fair
was for us to encourage and teach them how to get
started and gain the commitment that they would go
home and do so! “
Tempe resident Cindy Lines enjoyed talking
with people about creating a “Family Emergency
Plan.” This is a plan every family should have in case
of fire or any other emergency. Such a plan might
include how to evacuate your home, safe meeting
places, what to take with you, emergency contact
numbers, etc.
“The number of families with young children
attending the fair was especially encouraging,”
observed Lines. “Most of them had never thought
about enacting a Family Emergency Plan. I hope
seeds were planted to have the tools to stay safe in an
emergency. It was time very well spent for all of us.”
If there was a theme to the fair, it was that
preparation and planning now can make a huge
difference later.
“When a disaster strikes, it’s too late,” cautioned
Jones. “You are either ready or your aren’t. The
good news is that every individual and family can
take small steps to be better prepared.”
But it wasn’t just two-legged creatures that need
to prepare for life’s what-ifs. There was even a booth
on how to care for pets in an emergency situation.
During the fair, booth experts enjoyed milling
around to learn from other experts. Tempe CERT
volunteer Gail Majors enjoyed teaching proper fire
suppression—with real fire and a fire hose. But she
also enjoyed going over to the solar oven booth where
her friend was cooking pumpkin bread using only the
rays of the sun.
“This is awesome,” laughed Gail. “I’ve got to get
me a solar oven.”
Fair organizers partnered with Tempe Fire
Department, and kids enjoyed being up close to
the big ladder firetruck in the morning
and seeing the pumper truck in the
afternoon. Tempe police officers also
turned a few heads with their Camaro
squad car, which was located next
to a Boy Scout troop demonstrating
emergency shelters.
Attendees were also encouraged to
bring canned goods for St. Mary’s Food
Bank, and over 410 meals were collected
during the fair.
So to save paper, handouts were
not given out at the fair, but were
made available online. So even if
you missed the event, you can get the
educational handouts by going to



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