Being ready for disasters and preparing for emergencies is basic in the belief system of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Based on Proverbs 27:12 – which states “The prudent see danger and take refuge, while the simple keep going and suffer for it” – LDS church members see emergency preparedness as part of being Mormons.
On April 7, the LDS church in Ashburn will share that philosophy and expertise with the Loudoun County community with its first Emergency Preparedness Fair.
“We have a tradition of emergency preparedness,” said Bobbi Holcombe, the event coordinator for the LDS church in Ashburn. “Our church leaders have always encouraged it, and with all the disasters that have been happening recently, we thought it was something we could do as a community service to bring the various agencies together in one location.”
The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 7 at the LDS campus, 21015 Clairborne Parkway in Ashburn. The event and all of the demonstrations and information sessions are free.
Agencies participating include the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office, Loudoun County Department of Emergency Management, the American Red Cross, Loudoun County Fire and Rescue and the Boy Scouts.
“In addition to the agencies that are coming, we will have classes by experts in preparing for various situations,” said Holcombe, who is the Emergency Preparedness Specialist for the eight churches in the Ashburn LDS Stake – or diocese. “We will be teaching people how to put together a “go-bag,” how to purify water, long-term food storage and how to preserve foods, alternate cooking sources on how to cook foods without an electric or gas stove.”
Holcombe said many of the classes will be conducted indoors, but many of the demonstrations take place outside on the church campus – weather permitting.
“One thing I think especially the children would enjoy is our Emergency Communications room.,” she said. “We will have some ham radio equipment there with licensed operators, so people can get hands-on experience with radio communications, which can be necessary when cell towers become overloaded or destroyed during an emergency.”
Holcombe said one of the things people overlook is keeping an adequate water supply on hand in case of an emergency.
“You should have one gallon of water on hand – per person, per day,” she said. “Some of these are things people know, but they may need an event like this to become enthused enough to act. To do what they know they should do.”
Holcombe said it was easy to recruit representatives from the various emergency agencies in the community.
“They are very enthusiastic because they, too, are concerned that people don’t know some of the basic skills that they should in the case of an emergency,” she said. “They are very eager to show people what to do.
“For example, we are also going to have someone demonstrate how to operate a home fire extinguisher. People comply with the law and have one in their home, but don’t understand what they would do with it in an emergency.”
Holcombe said the Boy Scouts are going to demonstrate navigational skills that people may not have because of their reliance on gadgets and technology.
“The Boy Scouts are going to do a demonstration on basic map-reading skills,” she said. “The satellite system could go down and GPS might not work. The Boy Scouts will demonstrate basic compass orienteering and how to work with a map and how to find their way out of a situation.”
Emergency Preparedness Fair
10 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 7
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
21015 Claiborne Parkway in Ashburn
Classes and exhibits include:
- How to prepare emergency kits (“go bags”)
- CPR, First aid for traumatic injuries
- Protect against active shooter
- Purify water for safe use
- Prepare for power outages
- Using and maintaining generators
- Emergency communication
- Prepare meals when the power’s out
- Surviving weather emergencies
- Fire safety and fire extinguishers
- The family emergency plan
- Kids Activity Table