As the rumored end of the world nears in December, disaster readiness and the threat of apocalypse are on many people’s minds. The McMinnville Preparedness Fair explored the topic of survival on Sept. 29 at Duniway Middle School. The keynote speaker, Erick Holdeman, spoke about “surviving the zombie apocalypse, and other, real hazards.”
Kicking off his presentation, Holdeman presented his key point that “if you are prepared for a zombie apocalypse, then you are ready for just about any natural disaster or threat there will ever be.”
Holdeman is a nationally known writer and consultant on emergency management. A Washington state native, Holdeman also writes for Emergency Management magazine and worked for the Washington State Division of Emergency Management for five years.
In the past, Holdeman said that people have not been prepared for disaster situations due to being in various stages of denial.
“People either think its never going to happen, or if it does, it won’t happen to them,” Holdeman said. “Then there are the people who think if it does happen to them, there’s nothing they can do to stop it anyway.”
Holdeman is working to dislodge this idea, stating that there are many things people can do to be prepared. According to Holdeman, provisions should be made with the long-term in mind.
“While making a 72-hour kit will help, people need to be planning for longer,” Holdeman said. “If something happens, then more than likely we’ll need to plan for at least a week.”
Bringing the topic closer to home, Holdeman talked about the circumstances when Mount Saint Helens erupted for the first time.
“People were not prepared,” Holdeman said. “Then when it happened again, things went a little differently.”
Holdeman also brought up that people should be asking institutions, such as hospitals, schools and other large facilities what their emergency action plans are for different situations.
“It’s not enough to just have fire drills anymore,” Holdeman said. “So if you go in and ask to see [an institution’s] emergency action plan, see how long it takes for them to find it. That’s often a good indicator in how prepared they are.”
Making light of a serious topic, Holdeman talked about the repelling of zombies with the help of some local middle school student volunteers.
Leading up to Holdeman’s presentation, the community was able to attend different workshops and booths to become educated on different ways to be prepared for any disaster or emergency situation. Some of the participants included Yamhill County groups, the American Red Cross and the McMinnville School District. The fair offered workshops on family emergency planning, food storing and making 72-hour kits.