The key takeaway from the City of Tustin’s second annual Disaster Preparedness Expo, held April 6 at the city’s historic blimp hangar, can be found right in the event’s title: Preparedness.
Whether it be a fire, flood, or earthquake, every speaker at the expo echoed the necessity to be prepared before the next major disaster strikes.
Each vendor inside the 17-story wooden structure offered products and services to help attendees do exactly that.
“This is a real important event,” Tustin Police Chief Stu Greenberg said. “It teaches all of us how to prepare better for what we know is going to happen. It’s not if it’s going to happen. It’s when it’s going to happen.”
The Tustin Police Department displayed its mobile command unit, patrol units, and motorcycles.
Among the vendors and agencies on hand were the American Red Cross, Ready OC, the Southern California Animal Response Team, Tustin’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Be Ready Earthquake Survival Products, and Hope Animal Assistance Crisis Response. The Orange County Fire Authority displayed its equipment and held live demonstrations.
Ready America featured the Big Shaker, believed to be one of the world’s largest mobile earthquake simulators.
“They’ve got great stuff,” said Doris Munn of Tustin, who visited the expo with her daughter and two grandchildren. “Where do we gather? What do we do if we don’t have water? Everyday things that we never ever think about. I think this is really important stuff that we need to know.”
Disaster preparedness includes such basics as having extra food, extra water, and enough gas in vehicles, Greenberg said.
“When something happens, you need to have supplies for a couple of days in case the police department or fire department can’t get to you,” Greenberg said.
Teri Larios, who attended the expo with her husband and daughters Vivian, 4, and Kiana, 1, said it’s more critical to be prepared now that she has a family.
“Now life is complicated with two young kids,” Larios said. “Before the kids, it was just the two of us, but now it’s more important.”
Macie Manns, a Tustin CERT volunteer, brought her two sons to the expo so “they can see everything that goes into helping people.”
“It’s cool just to know what is all around us,” Manns said. “What we have accessible and what we can learn. It’s good. I like it.”
Many people don’t consider the need for preparedness until a disaster actually occurs, Tustin Mayor Chuck Puckett said.
“By then it is too late,” Puckett said. “By that time you’re scattering to get children, animals, keepsakes, and valuable papers. By then it could be too late.”