The emergency preparation team at our church put our heads together, to figure out how to develop awareness among our own congregation. We came up with the idea of a huge display table. One that not only displayed stuff, but was a source of information as well. Possibly including a “call to action”. We wanted the table display up for at least 2 Sundays.
Once we ran the idea by our pastor, then the church board, we made up our lists and the following is what we ended up displaying.
- Water We brought out all sizes of storage containers; 5 gallons, 2 gallons, one gallon and 16 oz. pre-filled. We made a display sign for recommended water requirements for an individual per day.
- First Aid We brought pre-made kits as well as expanded ones that we had put together ourselves.
- Food We wanted to show different kinds of food, as well as where to buy it from, starting from the grocery store to pre packed freeze dried, to canning your own. I brought my dehydrator and jars of fruits and vegetables (the successful ones!) that I had dehydrated. I brought a collection of #10 cans of freeze dried foods along with some dehydrated meals-in-a-jar I had put together. Mary, one of our team members, brought a 5 gallon bucket filled with a 3 day supply of freeze dried meals she had purchased from a company who specializes in just that. I had pulled a collection of can goods from my pantry to show just what you could put together from the grocery store.
- Information/Handouts LOTS of them! Booklets from our county Emergency Management Agency on emergency preparedness and the MAP Your Neighborhood program. We had information on the CERT program; A copy of the Cascadia Rising report, the 3 state mega earthquake scenario. Bill, our other team member, researched all the freeze dried companies along with other emergency supply websites and printed out a stack of handouts for those who wanted more information.
- Brochures from our church denomination highlighting the Emergency Management ministry, just in case people thought we might be the uncast guests from Dooms Day Preppers. And lastly, 2 sign up sheets. One for those who were interested in taking a CPR/First Aid class, and another for those who were interested in joining our planning team.
- Get Home and Bug Out Bags Yes, I know these are two different things for those who are in the know, but for those who are experiencing their first expose, we thought it would be ok to lump these two together. Mary, Bill and I each brought our own bags from our cars, since each one was a little different. Most of them included some basics: A flashlight, fire starters of various kinds, snacks like protein bars/drinks, extra clothing, work gloves, mini first aid kits, compass, Life Straw for filtering water, bandanas, a whistle and a hand cranked NOAA radio. Our goal was to just expose the congregation to what was out there.
My biggest fear was our congregation believing emergency preparedness a secular concept and held no place in the church. If those thoughts were floating about, we did not hear them. Since Bill and I manned the table before and after church, we were pleasantly surprised by the interest and the questions. We heard things like, “my brother is really into this” and “I should be doing this”. There were a lot of questions keeping Bill and I busy. We had 8 people sign up for CPR and 2 sign up to join our planning team. Over all, a good start.