Department of Health

Welcome Winter Be Ready Event a Big Success

Health and Safety Fair on Dec. 19 welcomed more than 100 attendees.

January 2, 2013 | 2 min reading time

Winter came in with a vengeance, right on schedule on December 21st.  Temperatures dropped and snow flurries were present in the greater St. Louis region.  Some residents were taken by surprise by the drastic change in the weather, but not those who took the time to attend the first annual Welcome Winter Be Ready Event on December 19th.

The City of St. Louis Department of Health's first Be Ready Event was a huge success.  Melba Moore, Health Commissioner, welcomed over a hundred City employees and residents to this health and safety fair.  Over a dozen vendors provided a variety of tips for being prepared for the upcoming winter weather including the City Emergency Management Team (CERT), the Red Cross, Health Care USA, People's Community Action Corporation, the Department of Human Services and various agencies within the Health Department.

Freebies were everywhere in this event.  Walgreens provided free flu shots to at least 16 qualified participants.  The City Fire Department provided free smoke detectors to at least 29 participants.  The CERT provided free glow sticks that also serve as a flashlight, whistle and flasher in emergencies.  The United Way provided access to 2-1-1, a free service that connects people to warming centers and other essential, non-emergency services.  Other freebies available included health and safety supplies as well as healthy snacks.  As one would expect, all the information was free too.  Even our four-legged friends were covered.  Animal Care and Control was on hand to provide tips for protecting your pets from the winter conditions and some free pet supplies too.  One lucky winner took home the top prize, a 72-hour emergency preparedness kit.

Heat Up St. Louis was also there to provide energy assistance and weatherization services.  They were easily the most popular table at the event.Qualifying City residents (seniors, disabled or needy households with small children) who were experiencing difficulty in paying for heating expenses could apply for assistance with their bills during the winter months.  This assistance will not only reduce the chance of residents freezing in their homes, but will also reduce the chance of having a fire or carbon monoxide accident because a resident is using an unapproved heating method in their home.  The Reverend Earl E. Nance, Jr., welcomed attendees and encouraged qualified residents to sign up for this very valuable service.  Approximately 60 residents signed up for this service.

As a part of the event's program, Shontae Fluelen-Hays with the Department of Health's Severe Weather Public Health Protection Program demonstrated the department's new emergency communication system, a compact public announcement (PA) system complete with portable speakers.  This equipment will be essential in directing emergency responders and informing the public on-site during emergency situations.  This demonstration also provided the Health Department an opportunity to show the public how well-prepared we are to handle emergencies as key first responders.

The event had several goals. The first was to provide the community an opportunity to have direct contact with agencies responsible for responding during emergency situations. Another goal was to encourage citizens to take a practical approach to being prepared by creating an emergency preparedness kit. The last goal, and most important was to give the community an opportunity to become better informed.  This inaugural event did a great job of meeting all those goals, and yielded very positive responses from participants and vendors alike.

Throughout the event, the message of being prepared was evident. "The more people understand, the more empowered they are to take the steps necessary to keep themselves and families safe," said Fluelen-Hays.  Another equally important message that was visible at each table was a request to check on one's neighbors during emergencies and bad weather.  Fluelen-Hays reminds us, "We all have an immediate responsibility to care for our family members in the event of emergency.  However, we have a moral responsibility to look out for our neighbors too."

Health Department

City of St. Louis

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