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Ref: Arkansas community hosts emergency preparedness expo focusing on locality

NWA News

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Bella Vistans learn preparedness

By Jamie Brunk Staff writer //
Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2007
BELLA VISTA — Bella Vista is an unlikely target for terrorists, but there are a number of other potential threats that residents must be prepared to handle. Having their families prepared for a variety of potential disasters was the focus of a workshop held Tuesday.

Northwest Arkansas Community College’s Institute for Corporate and Public Safety sponsored a Family Emergency Preparedness seminar for the Bella Vista community. The event, held at NWACC’s College at the Crossings in Bella Vista, was for anyone in the Bella Vista community who had an interest, including first responders and residents.

The ICPS offers a similar curriculum across the country, but this seminar was tailored to Bella Vista’s needs, said Ricky Tompkins, ICPS director.

“ We took out the terrorism aspect because that’s not a likely event, ” he said. “ Even though we do this curriculum nationwide, we live in northwest Arkansas. We want to make sure our community is ready. ”

Instead of terrorism, participants learned how to react in a more likely event — an ice storm.

The course included the basics of emergency response and tips on how to develop a personal emergency-response plan.

“ We wanted to make it something they can use right now where they’re at, ” Tompkins said.

Tompkins and other organizers were pleased with the community’s response. Tuesday’s class filled up quickly, and a second class scheduled for Nov. 15 is getting close to full.

“ This tells me people out there are interested in family preparedness and response, ” said Steve Sims, Bella Vista fire chief and ICPS instructor.

Sims offered advice on how to develop a good emergency plan, but he also encouraged participants to practice the plan once it’s developed so residents will be ready when the plan is needed.

Miriam Stocks and Ann Barbieri both participated in the event and found it useful.

“ I don’t know if everyone is aware that they can contact the emergency departments in case there’s something (the departments ) need to know, ” Barbieri said, referring to how residents can report special needs, such as a disabled family member, to emergency personnel so the information will be on record in case there is an emergency with the family at the house.

“ It’s learning how to protect yourself, ” Stocks said simply.

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