Disaster Preparedness Fair: Community gets up close and personal with life-saving tips

by Jessica A. York, Santa Cruz Sentinel

Hank Moeller of Bonny Doon’s Community Emergency Response Team douses flames using a fire extinguisher during the Disaster Preparedness Fair outside of Home Depot in Soquel on Sunday. (Kevin Johnson — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

SOQUEL >> Using a fire extinguisher is not as easy as it looks. First, there’s hefting it. Then, there’s aiming at the heart of the fire and holding the stream steady.

Lucky for 3-year-old Brayden Ybarra, of Capitola, dad Paul Ybarra was on hand Sunday to help shoulder some of the responsibility.

The family was one of many who steadily trickled into the 7th annual Disaster Preparedness Fair “Dangers in Paradise,” kicking off National Preparedness Month in September.

Bill McDermott, from left, Roger Garcia and Paul O’Hare work to free a dummy from underneath a pile of heavy wood during the Disaster Preparedness Fair in Soquel on Sunday. (Kevin Johnson — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

“It’s great. It’s educational and fun for the kids,” said Paul Ybarra, a community safety officer at UC Santa Cruz and a member of the university’s Community Emergency Response Team, or CERT. “CERT always needs more people. It’s community building and important in a natural disaster.”

Brayden, wearing a sticker police badge he had acquired at the fair, said he wants to grow up to be a firefighter, after trying out the fire extinguisher.

In addition to reminding the public to be prepared for the next natural disaster, whether that be fire, flooding, earthquake or otherwise, the fair, held in the Home Depot parking lot on 41st Avenue, also served as a refresher for CERT volunteers.

Central Fire Protection District Fire Inspector Mike DeMars, right, stamps responder’s cars to certify them for fire extinguisher use during the Disaster Preparedness Fair in Soquel on Sunday. (Kevin Johnson — Santa Cruz Sentinel)

As CERT teams progressed through several emergency drills like pulling a dummy from beneath fallen wood, assessing patients for priority treatment, and fire extinguishing, team leaders checked in by two-way radios with Becky Steinbruner.

Link to original article: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/News/ci_26487916/Disaster-Preparedness-Fair:-Community-gets-up-close-and-personal-with-lifesaving-tips

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