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Children learn about safety at Preparedness in the Park in Hagerstown

September 10, 2013|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Michelle Beck, 8, is given information on emergency preparedness by Red Cross responder Leslie McIntosh at Preparedness in the Park in CIty Park in Hagerstown. Beck is a third-grader at St. Mary's Catholic School.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

Nine-year-old Ty Ambush said he was ready to tackle any emergency with the safety tips he learned Tuesday during Preparedness in the Park at Hagerstown City Park.

Ty and dozens of other pupils from St. Mary’s Catholic School received flashlights, whistles and other safety-oriented items that organizers passed out at the event to teach children the importance of being prepared during a natural or man-made disaster.

“They gave us all this real cool stuff,” Ty said. “I’ll probably end up using it if I’m in an emergency.”

Kevin Lewis, director of Washington County Emergency Services, said Preparedness in the Park was part of National Preparedness Month, which was set up after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, to help people prepare for emergencies.

He said emergency officials try to focus on children, because they’ll retain the information for a lifetime.

“Preparedness is everyone’s responsibility,” Lewis said.

In addition to receiving safety tips, the children got a chance to crawl around in a police cruiser and were treated to a K-9 demonstration from the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.

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St. Mary’s third-grader Armani Kenney said she enjoyed the event.

“They taught us about safety, and how to stay safe if there’s a storm or a burglar,” she said.

Employees from the Lowe’s home improvement store on Wesel Boulevard in Halfway passed out 100 flashlights to the children and displayed other items from the store that would come in handy during an emergency, such as smoke detectors, batteries and weather radios.

Pat Kubala, assistant manager of the Lowe’s, said every child who attended the event received a coupon for their family to save 20 percent on the purchase of a fire extinguisher. He said they also would receive a 10 percent discount on any merchandise in the store that is emergency related.

The Washington County Health Department attended the event to pass out adhesive bandages and hand-sanitizer.

Shawn Stoner, the health department’s public health emergency planner, said the department also passed out a list of items that people need in the event of an emergency, and whistles for children to blow if they get lost.

Making your own emergency kit

Here are some ingredients for an emergency kit, according to the Washington County Health Department:

  • Water: One gallon per person per day for three days.
  • Food: Nonperishable items, such was canned or packaged foods.
  • Clothes: One change of clothes and footwear per person.
  • Medications: Three days’ worth of prescription medications.
  • Flashlight: At least one flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Can opener: Manual can opener.
  • Radio: Battery-powered, solar-powered, or hand-cranked radio.
  • Hygiene items: Items such as soap, toilet paper, toothbrush, etc.
  • First aid: Antiseptic, bandages and nonprescription medicine.
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