CIL Open House a HUGE Success

This year we paired our Open House with an Emergency Preparedness information session. William Kennedy, CILNCF Executive Director opened the day’s activities, welcoming all in attendance and thanking our expert panel members who had volunteered their time to help educate consumers on how people with disAbilities can best prepare themselves for certain emergency events.

 Jeff Feller, Chief Operations Officer for WellFlorida, our local health planning council took over from there, guiding the morning presentations and assisting with the question and answer portion of the session.

The Expert Panel Members were comprised of professionals and leaders from their respective fields and included:

Opening remarks from expert panel members

Chip Wilson, Statewide Disability Coordinator Emergency Management
David Donnelly, Emergency Management Director of Alachua County
Brad Caron, Health Preparedness Planner Alachua County Health Department
Jeremy Gallman, Director of Safety and Emergency Preparedness, NFR Medical Center
Al Sandrik, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

A lunch presentation was also arranged; Al Sandrik, Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Jacksonville, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, provided a stimulating and comprehensive lunch presentation about weather tracking, and the impact of hurricanes and additional inclement weather we experience in Florida.

Several phone calls and e-mails were also made to invite assorted vendors to attend our event:  Vocational Rehabilitation, University of Florida (FL Office on Disability and Health, Right to Know Campaign, FL Senior Safety Resource Center), American Red Cross, Alzheimer’s Association, MV Transportation, Elder Options, A-1 Tree Services and Alachua County/City of Gainesville Equal Opportunity offices.

Marketing for the event consisted of creating and mailing flyers to agencies with consumers that could benefit from the emergency preparedness workshop, kits and plans, as well as contacting local media for public service announcements and community calendar posts.

Arrangements were also made for the printing of flyers, posters and forms, as well as for sign language interpreters to be present throughout the workshop and lunch presentation.  Packets were developed for workshop participants that included the agenda, CIL brochure, our Executive Director’s business card and the emergency preparedness plan.  Vendor tables were set up throughout the Center, as well as display tables featuring various CIL programs.

On the day of the Open House, a sign-in table was available and staff assisted throughout the day with participants, directions, questions, crowd control, setting up for lunch, monitoring tables, distributing the emergency preparedness kits, and breaking everything down when the event was complete.  During the event, participants with disabilities were encouraged to fill out a personal information sheet, detailing their disability, in order to receive an emergency preparedness kit.  Green canvas duffle bags with zippered compartments were provided and filled with a variety of emergency supplies that included:  an emergency Mylar blanket, PVC “Easy Tear” duct tape, 2” x 10 yards, 33 piece first aid kit, flashlight with 2 D cells, 9 piece multi tool knife, leather work gloves with a safety cuff, 2 piece light stick set, rain poncho, 6 water packets, USCG approved, signaling whistle, handy pouch kit with toothpaste, toothbrush, comb, soap, shave gel, razor, tissue and shampoo, and a radio/siren combo.

Two local TV stations attended the event and a staff member worked with them to set up the requested interviews with two participants/consumers, a member of our panel and our Executive Director.  Our event was featured on both TV 20 and GTN that evening during the 10pm local news.  Overall, it was a very successful event with over 200 people in attendance!  The CIL staff was happy and satisfied to have served so many individuals with disabilities in our local community.