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Campton Hills to host safety fair, train volunteers in emergency preparedness

CAMPTON HILLS – A free safety fair is coming to Bell Graham Elementary School, 4N505 Fox Mill Blvd., Campton Hills, on June 21 thanks to a grant from the Cities of Service group for volunteer service.

The fair will emphasize emergency preparedness, especially in the case of natural disasters. A CPR demonstration and tours of a squad car, fire truck and ambulance will be offered to attendees. Open from 2 to 5 p.m., the fair is for all ages and does not require pre-registration.

"We are in an area that doesn't have a whole lot of resources, but we do enjoy being part of several fire districts and we have our own police department," said Laura Andersen, village trustee. "We thought it would be good to help our residents become more aware of how to respond and be more resilient in emergencies."

Representatives from many organizations are slated to attend, including the police and sheriff's departments, the Campton Hills animal clinic and local churches, in addition to utility companies. 

Village administrator Jennifer Johnsen said the fair will also provide three "Outreach Volunteer" training sessions, at 2:15, 3:15 and 4:15 p.m., in hopes of training 200 residents in spreading emergency preparedness awareness.
"[Outreach Volunteers] will be trained on what they can do as far as their family or what the village will need," Johnsen said. "[Terror-type] situations are included in a part of the training, but flooding, tornadoes and earthquakes are a bigger threat."

Paul Bumba, emergency preparedness coordinator for St. Charles, and Phil Laier, emergency medical services system coordinator for Presence St. Joseph Hospital, will conduct the training sessions. A 45-minute class will be followed by 45 minutes of interactive training, where participants will discuss organization-specific emergency preparedness with the representatives present at the fair. Child care will be provided for the trainees.

Although natural disasters can strike without warning, there still are many ways to be prepared, according to village president Patsy Smith.

"Residents can keep a well-stocked emergency kit at home ... or buy a weather radio and learn how to interpret local weather alerts and warnings," Smith wrote in an email. "Free 'apps' available to download from provide preparedness planners, first aid information, weather, radio and even a flashlight!"

If the fair fails to train 200 outreach volunteers, Johnsen said additional training sessions will be incorporated into the National Night Out safety event Aug. 5. 

"One of the reasons we got the grant is because we're a relatively large community with very little staff," Johnsen said. "It gives us an opportunity to build relationships with other organizations that already provide [safety] services, like the fire district."

This is Campton Hills' first safety fair, after receiving the $25,000 grant in January. There are no plans to make the fair a yearly event. 

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