News Release

Preparedness Fair Draws Community Together

In anticipation of the approaching storm and fire season, Latter-day Saints in Nowra, New South Wales, invited their neighbours to an October lunch and Emergency Preparedness Day. Presentations, displays and take-home information alerted visitors to possible disasters and how to respond to them.

Participants learned ways to prevent tragedies and deal with fires, floods, bushfires and earthquakes. Instruction was given by the NSW Rural fire Service, the Department of Human Services, and the State Emergency Service.
Greg Quinton, First Counsellor in the Nowra District Presidency, served with Centrelink's Emergency Reserve in the Queensland Floods earlier this year; he also helped battle Victorian bushfires in 2009. "Many people I knew died in the firestorm," he said. "I have experienced the effect disasters can have on lives."

The FireWise program, presented by the Rural Fire Service, explained new Fire Danger Ratings, the "Leave Early" and "Stay and Defend" plans, and ways to "Prepare, Act, Survive." Much of the fire training consisted of new information coming from studies of the Victorian bushfires in 2009. More than 170 people died in those fires.

Participant Fiona Heagney, commenting on the activity, said, "My family is going to make some required changes to protect ourselves and our home from fire."

The Department of Human Services provided a video and display explaining the financial and emotional support available to disaster victims. The State Emergency Service contributed information on flood and storm safety.

Church members brought 72-Hour Kits—designed to sustain life in immediate evacuation situations--and told how individual families can customize them to fit their needs and budget.

Fire-damaged building photos, projected in the displays room, were sobering reminders of the importance of disaster preparation. "At the end of the day," commented President Quinton, "we all gained a deeper meaning of 'if ye are prepared, ye shall not fear'." (Doctrine and Covenants 38:30)

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