Being prepared is hot topic for Folsom

By: Don Chaddock, The Telegraph
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Are Folsom area residents prepared for a disaster? That’s the question many were trying to answer by attending the third annual Emergency Preparedness Fair held at the community center on Saturday. Coordinated by Jim Serre of Folsom-based, the fair focused on educating families on ways to prepare for a natural disaster or terrorist attack. “Fundamentally, everyone needs to have a 72-hour kit so they can survive three days without professional first responders such as the fire department and police,” Serre said. “They need to have food, water, first aid, shelter, sanitation and a radio. Those are the key items.” Serre said that help could take days to arrive if a major disaster happened in the Folsom area and residents should be prepared. He is a volunteer with Search and Rescue teams for El Dorado and Sacramento counties. He also volunteers with the Folsom Police Department. A display of fire department and law enforcement vehicles were outside. Folsom Police Sgt. Eric Heichlinger showed off the city’s “Peacekeeper,” an armored transport vehicle complete with gun ports in case of a heavy gunfight. Members of CERT, the Community Emergency Response Team, were also on hand to answer questions. According to CERT’s Russell Hoy, the all-volunteer organization was formed by President George Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and is under the umbrella of Homeland Security and FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “CERT comes in behind first responders during major incidents, to provide support,” Hoy said. “Mayor Eric King is a big proponent of preparedness for the city,” Serra said. In all, there were 16 vendors providing information to residents. For more information about CERT and how to volunteer, call 916-492-6118 or e-mail