Hundreds of visitors flocked to the former Lehigh Valley Expo Center on Cetronia Road in South Whitehall Saturday to learn how police, ambulance and fire personnel respond when disasters strike -- and how to prepare for the worst themselves.
The Emergency Preparedness Day, which offered demonstrations, exhibits and entertainment, was sponsored by South Whitehall, Upper Macungie and North Whitehall.
Fire companies from Cetronia, Woodlawn, Greenawalds, Tri-Clover, Trexlertown and Fogelsville were on hand to show off their firefighting equipment. They were joined by Cetronia and NOVA ambulances corps along with law enforcement representatives from South Whitehall, Berks-Lehigh Regional and Pennsylvania State Police, and professionals from Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s Hospital.
Rows and rows of exhibits and vendors filled a large portion of the parking lot. Demonstrations of CPR, babysitting, medical emergencies and the safe use of generators were offered, and there was plenty of fun and entertainment for the youngsters.
Cetronia and NOVA ambulance corps each displayed a state-of-the art LUCAS CPR apparatus. As described by Cetronia’s Bill Aull, LUCAS, at the push of a button, delivers uninterrupted compressions at a consistent rate to facilitate blood flow, helping improve the patient’s chance for a successful outcome.
Aull also explained ICEdot, an emergency identification service in which participants create an emergency response profile that is then kept in the glove compartment of their vehicle. An ICEdot sticker is placed on the driver’s side rear window. In an emergency, the Icedot indicates to first responders that relevant medical information is located in the vehicle. It is particularly helpful in a case where the accident victim is non-responsive, according to Aull. For more information on the program, visit www.icedot.org.
Could you go three days without electricity, water, food and medication?
From earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes and snowstorms with extended power outages to sinkholes and gas explosions, representatives from the Pennsylvania Citizen Corps explained that everyone should have an emergency preparedness plan that includes enough water and non-perishable food for each person and animal in the home.
They offered four steps to follow in order to survive:
2) Stay alert by listening to radio and television alerts and sign up at https://alert.pa.gov to receive free weather watches and warnings to your email or cell phone;
3) Click on “make a plan” at www.ready.gov to get practical advice on what to do, where to go and how to reunite if you and your family are separated, and
4) Get involved by becoming a citizen responder and joining CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) to help others when professional responders are not immediately available. For information or to register for CERT, call Lehigh County Emergency Management at 810-782-4600.
For the kids, there were performances by magician Al Grout and Balloons the Clown; a moon bounce and inflatable slides; a Disney show presented by AAA; sand art craft and encounters with a remote-controlled mini-ambulance and a remote-controlled mini-fire truck driven by a fire-helmeted dog.
Lehigh Valley Health Network opened its “Miles of Smiles” truck for tours. “Miles of Smiles” is a traveling dental facility that visits four Allentown elementary schools each week. With the consent of parents, students receive free dental exams and follow-up care. The program also is available to children outside the school district who require dental care and can’t afford it.
Mike Eck and search dog Molly were on hand to talk to visitors about Valley Search and Rescue. Headquartered at the Schnecksville Fire Company, VSAR is a volunteer organization that assists professional emergency personnel in the search for lost or missing people. For information on the organization, call 484-629-8727.
Did you know that 40,000 pets across the United States die in house fires each year, and that another 500,000 pets are affected by house fires annually?
The family pet may also need help during an emergency, and members of the Lehigh Valley County Community Animal Response Team were there to educate the community on their work. The group was created through a public-private network of organizations, businesses, federal and state agencies and individuals supporting the preparedness, response and recovery of animals during emergencies. To learn more about their efforts, visit www.lvcart.com.
Among the vendors were Bridgestone Tire Company with a display on how improperly inflated tires contribute to accidents, and ADT and Simplex-Grinnell alarm companies.
In addition, visitors were treated to free hot dogs, beverages, popcorn and ice cream.