Last night was the culmination of a lot of hard work and planning and it literally paid off. Several months ago two Scout troops from Cranford, NJ started working together on a emergency preparedness event. What they pulled off was quite amazing and was a great benefit to the Scouts, to the community and to ShelterBox.
The basis for the event was that up to 40 families would volunteer to simulate families that were evacuated from their homes due to a local flood. The Scouts set up a tent city to house at least 160 people, not counting themselves, and provided food and entertainment to all the participants. As part of the entertainment the Scouts set up and manned stations where the guests could learn about different aspects of emergency preparedness like what to have ready for a “go bag” and planning a household escape plan. Keeping things fun there was a bean toss game that was an exact replica of the iconic green ShelterBox. If you completed a passport by attending enough stations you received a personal flashlight.
By working with the county, the scout troops were able to time their event to close out Union County’s annual Emergency Preparedness week. There were vehicles from police, fire, bomb squad, haz-mat, and the Fire Safety House
(http://www.njburncenter.com/community.html) a trailer that simulates a house fire, utilizing non-toxic smoke, and allows children to practice their home escape plan.
Attending dignitaries included community Freeholders, the president of the Cranford Rotary club and even the Department of Homeland Security came by to support the event. Patriot’s Path Council provided support and video equipment to document the event that will be edited and made available on YouTube.
When the troops started planning the event they also set a financial goal of raising enough money to fund the cost of a full ShelterBox ($1000). Each box supplies an extended family of up to 10 people with a tent and essential life sustaining equipment to use while they are displaced or homeless. The cost for each box covers not only the materials but also the costs for storage, logistics and transportation to anywhere in the world within days of a disaster. The Scouts were so successful with their event and with amazing support from the community, they raised enough to provide a donation for TWO Shelter Boxes. The community got to learn how to better prepare their family for a natural disaster and the Scouts got to test their skills on how they could respond to and manage support for their community if called upon. A big Scout salute to the troops that participated and made it all possible, they did an outstanding job.