Over 1400 students from across the county got tips on how to stay safe at this year’s emergency preparedness day at Sarnia’s Clearwater Arena.
The arena and its parking lot were packed with over 40 displays including fire trucks, police cars, and industrial scaffolding.
The potentially boring topic was made more interesting by interactive displays.
“We try to make it as interactive as possible for the kids,” said Joan MacKay of Community Awareness/Emergency Response (CAER), the local organization dedicated to safety issues and a sponsor of the event.
Students had the chance to climb into police cars with the Sarnia Police, see the inside of an ambulance with Lambton EMS, and experience parts of a sobriety test with MADD.
Students were instructed to carry “passports” that could be stamped at every display. Completed “passports” could then be entered into a draw for safety themed prizes.
Popular displays included water-blasting fire hoses off trucks from Shell’s Sarnia Manufacturing Centre, mock confined space rescue training by Phoenix Safety and Rescue which invited students to don hard hats and crawl through a trailer, and the Sarnia Jail Institutional Crisis Intervention team’s equipment demonstration that included handcuffs, batons and protective shields.
The Lambton County Radio Club was present highlighting the importance of amateur radio during an emergency.
“Amateur radio is an integral part of emergency response,” said Chuck Chivers, president of the Lambton County Radio Club. “When everything is out your cell phone doesn’t work.”
The Lambton County Radio Club uses their own equipment to assist municipalities, industry, and organizations like the Red Cross, with communication and coordination if there was ever an emergency, said Chivers.
The rain did prevent eight classic cars from showing up to the event, but overall, the spirit of the event was not damped, said MacKay.
“Overall it’s a great day, just take a look around,” she said.
The event was fun, but above all, it’s about raising awareness.
“When households are well-prepared and self-sufficient, it allows responders and municipal officials to focus on the most urgent issues during a crisis,” said Dean Edwardson, general manager of CAER. “Emergency Preparedness Day aims to provide those in attendance with the knowledge they need to be prepared at home for an emergency.”
Emergency Preparedness Day is held in recognition of National Emergency Preparedness Week, May 7-13, and is one of the largest municipal and industrial emergency preparedness displays in Canada.