DanvilleSanRamon.com

Cover Story - September 14, 2007

A fair to prepare

If the clowns and the free steak lunch aren't enough to get you and your family to the San Ramon Valley Emergency Preparedness Fair, planners have a few more tricks up their sleeves.

The whole idea is to make people want to get ready for natural and manmade disasters by showing them a good time, says Greg Gilbert, Emergency Services Manager for the Town of Danville.

"We know people don't want to think about the worst. It is human nature. ... But what's the alternative?" he said.

That's why the fair - the biggest of its kind in Northern California - is offering a family fun day of engaging exhibits where people will enjoy learning about being prepared, he said.

A live fire demonstration, free 72-hour food and equipment kits for the first 300 people (one per family), child finger printing and pet microchipping make it more than just a dull seminar on how to stay safe. Additional kits will be available for a $10 donation.

The fair will be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Old Orchard Road from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., tomorrow, Sept. 15. The Town of Danville, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District and the city of San Ramon are putting on the event.

Police and fire vehicles and ambulances will be on site for curious kids, along with Red Cross, Animal Services, PG&E and child safety demonstrations. Quick and easy tips on how to get ready for local disasters, including bolting shelves for earthquakes and strapping down water heaters, will be part of the exhibits. There will also be a "dunk tank" for the police chief.

"(Preparing) is not that hard to do, and it's inexpensive," Gilbert said.

The fair will cover all aspects of emergency preparedness, including flooding, fire, earthquakes and more. Currently, fewer than 20 percent of Californians are ready if a disaster were to occur. If just 2 percent of people are injured moderately in Contra Costa County in the next big earthquake, the impact on hospitals would be unmanageable, say organizers.

So why not take one day and learn how to prevent those injuries? You might just have some fun in the process, Gilbert said.

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