Jan. 25 forum promotes being prepared

Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2003

Juneau residents can learn how to prepare for natural and man-made emergencies at a free all-day forum Saturday.

The Cooperative Extension Service, affiliated with the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is sponsoring "In Time of Need, Securing Alaskan Lives." The new program, to be held also in Anchorage, Fairbanks and Kenai, was spurred by the events of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said.

"It's intended for individuals and families to begin to get good information to prepare for an unexpected emergency, to have things on hand," said home economist Emma Widmark of the Cooperative Extension Service.

"People are saying how self-sufficient Alaskans are. Since that's our nature anyway, maybe we should make a conscious effort to plan," she said.

The conference starts at 8 a.m. with a continental breakfast and runs through 5 p.m., at the Tlingit and Haida Community Center at 3235 Hospital Drive.

Edward Thomas, president of the Tlingit-Haida Central Council, is expected to speak on traditional methods of gathering foods and preparing for the future.

Cheryl Easterwood of the city and a representative of the Federal Emergency Management Agency will explain the role of responders to emergencies.

The forum includes presentations on securing shelter, energy and water during an emergency. Other topics include how to choose foods to store and have on hand in case of an emergency, and how to stay positive during a crisis.

"We need to consider nutritional requirements, securing the food and alternative methods of cooking," Widmark said.

A "Share Fair" held during lunch and late afternoon will allow participants to talk to experts from agencies. The program will end with the giving out of donated emergency equipment as door prizes.

Eric Fry can be reached at efry@juneauempire.com.

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