With Joplin, Missouri only sixty miles away, the entire northwest Arkansas community was particularly shaken up by the F5 tornado that tore a mile-wide strip out of that city just three months ago. The tragedy could have happened anywhere along “Tornado Alley,” of which Arkansas is a prominent member.
It was no surprise that the recent 5th Annual Emergency Preparedness Fair that the Rogers Arkansas Stake puts on every August was well attended. More than 3,000 northwest Arkansas residents looked through booths, took classes and enjoyed the free lunch and free 72-hr disaster starter kit they received at the stake center.
Learning how to stay safe during and after a tornado was only one of the fair’s highlights -- visitors were able to get information on a wide variety of preparedness topics, from food storage and personal financial planning to flood safety and CPR.
Community and government organizations from all over the area donated their time, their products, and even their emergency vehicles to make the fair a huge success. Children were able to look through ambulances, fire trucks and a medical transport helicopter, while adults learned about water purification, weather radios and storm shelters.
The classes offered ranged from fire safety to pet first-aid, and a walk-in blood drive collected over 200 units of blood.
Hundreds of volunteers from the stake staffed the fair, helping with the blood drive, directing traffic, serving lunch and handing out water bottles. The youth even manned a balloon animal/face painting booth for the kids. These volunteers, along with the many community participants, provided area residents with essential information as well as a day of fun.