News>Malmstrom celebrates National Preparedness Month
(From left to right) Staff Sgt. Nathan Sisk, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management technician, Senior Airman Thomas Hermansen, 341st CES emergency management technician, and Kevin Merszewski, Great Falls’ Red Cross preparedness coordinator, arrange bags to hand out to customers at the Exchange on Sept. 4. Malmstrom’s emergency management office and Great Falls Red Cross teamed up to host an information fair at the Exchange to coincide with the celebration of National Preparedness Month. Customers had a chance to win an emergency first aid starter kit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen)
Staff Sgt. Zack Osborne, 341st Security Forces Squadron response force leader, signs up for a chance to win an adult starter kit, which includes flash lights, protein bars, blankets and a first aid kit. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Katrina Heikkinen)
by Airman 1st Class Cortney Paxton
341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
9/7/2012 - MALMSTROM AIR FORCE BASE, Mont. -- Malmstrom Air Force Base's Emergency Management Unit is teaming up with the Red Cross to hold an informational fair at the Exchange throughout the month of September in celebration of National Preparedness Month.
"The whole concept of National Preparedness Month is being prepared for anything whether that is natural disasters, man-made disasters/terrorist attacks or anything else," said Staff Sgt. Nathan Sisk, 341st Civil Engineer Squadron emergency management technician. "It's about just having a plan and being ready."
The information fair, which was held all this week, will continue to be held every Tuesday of this month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. During the fair, Team Malmstrom members will be able to pick up flyers and other free informational items that discuss the topic of preparedness in different situations. The continuous theme most members may hear at the fair is "Build a kit. Have a plan. Be Ready."
"We have all sorts of flyers for different kinds of natural disasters and some little bags that we're handing out - they're kind of like reusable grocery bags," said Senior Airman Brandon Allen, 341st CES emergency management technician. "The Red Cross actually got involved with us and they have a whole bunch of informational flyers as well that they're giving out, and they also donated a backpack that's going to be handed out in a drawing at the end of the month. It's just an emergency kit for keeping your vehicle stocked with first aid kits and all of that kind of stuff."
After finding out about National Preparedness Month, Sisk decided he wanted to do something special to celebrate and raise awareness of different situations Malmstrom personnel should be prepared for.
Team Malmstrom members should be prepared to mitigate the risks associated with extreme cold weather, high winds, thunderstorms and lightning, flooding, drought conditions and hazardous driving conditions. With winter just around the corner, colder weather and winter driving conditions are the focus of the event.
"Definitely make sure that your car is winterized before winter hits," Allen said. "Make sure it's in good working order and that it's not going to break down or die on you. And with that, make sure that you have some sort of survival kit in the vehicle with you - especially if you're going to be traveling outside of the city. When you get out on some of the roads in between cities out here you're probably not going to see a whole lot of people so if you slide off the road or something like that, you want to make sure you're able to survive in your vehicle or with your vehicle in the case that you have to wait a day or so for someone to drive by and see you."
Being prepared for winter weather in a vehicle is something all Airmen should practice, but there are things to prepare at home as well.
"Your home lies with your family," Sisk said. "In the winter, have a survival kit and know who to call if your power goes out or heat goes out. Having a plan and knowing where to go if your power goes out can keep yourself and your family safe. Try to have all of these measures in place and practice them."
This information is provided to help those members new to Montana as well as the Airmen who have been here for a few years.
"I would say it definitely reaches out to those who are not from Montana - those who are new to the area - but I wouldn't say that it completely misses people who have been up here for a while," Allen said. "A lot of people are up here for a few years before they realize some of the stuff that can happen. If it hasn't happened to you or you haven't seen someone who has had something go wrong, you don't think about it a whole lot and I think this helps to shed some light on some of the stuff that can go wrong up here and being prepared for that."
Malmstrom Emergency Management Team plans to celebrate the month every year, and although National Preparedness Month is just one month out of the year, but being prepared for what life can bring is something that should happen all year round. Team Malmstrom members are encouraged to visit the information fair Sept. 11, 18 or 25 and take advantage of all of the preparation information offered.
"If you're not prepared, bad things can happen," Sisk said.