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Red Cross Participates in Prepare-A-thon

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On April 30, shoppers at Lynwood’s Plaza Mexico were treated to an afternoon of fun, interactive activities and giveaways by Red Cross Los Angeles Region, as well as a dozen other local preparedness agencies, to celebrate national America’s PrepareAthon Day and help families and businesses start the dialogue on how to ready themselves for the next disaster.

“We’re glad that we’re able to participate and spread the word on emergency preparedness because this morning we had an earthquake,” said Guillermo Sanchez, manager of Preparedness and Resiliency at Red Cross LA Region, referring to an early morning 3.4-magnitude temblor that originated near Carson. “It was small, but it got everyone’s attention, so hopefully that will get people to come out and find out a little more about emergency preparedness.”

The annual event, amid booming deejay sets and appearances by costumed characters, was set in the courtyard of the city’s popular shopping center and coordinated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management.

Families that visited the Red Cross station were treated to bilingual-Spanish pamphlets and advice on building a proper emergency kit, making an emergency plan, as well as how to help prepare small children, elderly or people with disabilities to safely evacuate in the event of a disaster. Children received drawstring backpacks provided by Red Cross donor Ford Motor Company, each stocked with a Disney disaster preparedness coloring book and flashlight.

Other interactive activities included a 3-D ground mural of a crumbling rockslide that guests were encouraged to “fall into”; group art presentations of the Pillowcase Project, which leads students in grades 3 to 5 through a “learn, practice and share” framework to engage them in disaster preparedness, and lets them take home their decorated pillowcases to start building their own emergency kit; and Sesame Street disaster preparedness puppet shows for young kids and their families.

“When people think of emergency kits, they think of food and water, and that’s it,” said Sanchez. But it’s crucial and life-saving to make a plan, too. “Hopefully people will take the materials and go home and learn more about it. It’s really important.”

To learn more about general emergency preparedness for home, business or school, or how to assemble your own emergency kit, visit http://www.preparesocal.org