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Expo for emergencies

Newport Beach event is on Sept. 18 at the Central Library.

September 07, 2010|By Sarah Peters, sarah.peters@latimes.com

A natural disaster can happen without warning. Newport Beach is no exception.

But what's scarier than fires, earthquakes or a tsunami is that too many people don't realize they're unprepared for such an event until it's too late.

To help residents get a handle on the myriad of things that can go wrong in a natural disaster — and how to deal with those problems efficiently to keep your family and neighbors safe — is the second annual Disaster Preparedness Expo on Sept. 18.

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As the "one-stop-shop" for supplies, information and advice, the expo is designed to be an easy way for Newport residents to get prepared for emergency situations, said Matt Brisbois, community preparedness coordinator.

"People are really excited because it's convenient for them," Brisbois said. "You hear people say that they've been meaning to do this, but that they haven't had the time."

The one-day expo will have supplies and emergency kit vendors. Additionally, booths manned by Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers will demonstrate skills needed in high-tension emergency situations such as how to stem blood flow from a wound and the proper way to handle rubber gloves.

"Unfortunately, I'd have to say most people have a relatively low level of preparedness," CERT volunteer David Bradmeyer said. "Most people are not focused on those things. They're more focused on going to work or taking children to school, but the expo exposes people to the certain kind of supplies and information that they need."

Bradmeyer, who has been a trained CERT volunteer for five years, said many people do not think about scenarios like if the gas or electricity went out or if water and supplies ran short.

In those situations, having something as easily overlooked as the proper wrench can make a huge difference in survival and free up city emergency teams' limited resources, he said.

"A lot of people want to help in a disaster," he said, "but if you're not trained, you add to the problem."

If You Go

What: Second annual Disaster Preparedness Expo

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 18

Where: Newport Beach Central library, 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach

Information: (949) 644-3112

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