2013 Press Release


For Immediate Release:                                                                                                                

Fun Family Event to Prepare Families and Honor Responders

Contact:  Jennifer Hughes, East TN VOAD Emergency Prep Fair Board member

Phone:  865-933-4088

East Tennessee Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster is having its annual fair to prepare families for emergencies and disaster on Saturday, September 21st at Cokesbury Church located at 9915 Kingston Pike (9 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

September is national preparedness month and the fair committee hopes to help families take the proper steps to become prepared for the unexpected.  All individuals and families should have a plan and an emergency kit in their home.  With numerous emergency professionals on hand at this event, community members can get answers from experts regarding any emergency situation.  Booths, classes, demos, and vendors will provide an opportunity for everyone to become more informed and self-reliant.

Children can enjoy activities from water safety classes to a tornado simulator to the fire safety house.  Popcorn, snow cones, miniature golf and a bounce house will help even the youngest child enjoy the day.

With the increase in disasters in our area in recent years, the fair will honor emergency responders during the event.  Responders, many who are volunteers, have played a significant role in helping families during severe storms, power outages, fires, and tornadoes in East Tennessee.

Some of the participating organizations include:  American Red Cross, Knoxville Emergency Management Agency, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Cokesbury United Methodist Church, and many emergency management agencies.

The fair is a FREE event for the community.  For more information, see prepfair.org or like us on facebook:  East TN VOAD Emergency Prep Fair.



NEW Additions for 2013 Fair

Each year we try to bring new ideas and information to you regarding emergency planning.  This year we have made the fair more diverse with regards to emergencies and disasters by adding the following:

  • Surviving Active Shooter Training class
  • Mass Casualty Training class
  • Emergency Apps for your Smart Phone
  • Sanitation and Laundry Care Booths
  • Water Safety classes for kids
  • Scavenger Hunt for kids
  • Demos and Samples throughout the booth area throughout the day

Please bring your family and friends to this important event!  Remember admission is FREE!

Arrive Early for Expert Panel Discussion

It’s not often that you have so many experts together in one place.  Fair attendees will have the opportunity to participate in a  panel discussion regarding emergency preparedness.  A wealth of knowledge was relayed to those in attendance last year.  This year we have new panelists as well as returning panelists.

The panel discussion begins immediately after the opening ceremony at 9 a.m. in the Epworth Center auditorium. John Jarrard will lead the discussion of panelists which will include the following:

Colin Ickes, Knoxville-Knox County Emergency Management Agency, Operations Officer

Rick Williams, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, Area Coordinator

Mark Willbanks, City of Knoxville Fire Department, Captain

Roger Byrd, City of Knoxville Fire Department, Deputy Chief

John Brinkley, Rural/Metro Ambulance Service, Quality Improvement & Disaster Planning Supervisor         

Ken Marston, Karns Volunteer Fire Department, Chief             

JC Parrott, Knox County Sheriff’s Office, Captain Director of Homeland Security Operations

Bill Muhlfeld, Knoxville Police Department, Investigator

Jerry Harnish, Rural/Metro Fire Department, Chief

Mary Beth Birge, Red Cross, Regional Director, Emergency Services  

Chris Thomas, KUB, Safety & Technical Services

Boy Scouts looking to fulfill requirements for their emergency preparedness merit badge need to attend this discussion.   Admission to the fair is FREE!


Children’s Outdoor Fair Activities

We’re prepared for the children at the fair and hope they can have fun while the whole family learns about emergency preparedness.  The children’s area will include:

  • Fire Safety House
  • putt putt (9 holes)
  • bounce house
  • face painting
  • sidewalk chalk
  • corn hole
  • bubble station

The Evangelical Block Party will be at the fair as well with concessions.  Admission to the fair is FREE!

Giveaways Galore

Thanks to our vendors and sponsors who have donated the following items for giveaways all day at the fair.

  • Emergency Preparedness Fair t-shirts (first 40 adults who register at the fair entrance)
  • Midland Weather Radios, hundreds of Ready Kit Bags (KEMA)
  • Shredder (UT Federal Credit Union)
  • 10″ 4 quart outdoor oven, plastic scrapers, and coupons (Lodge)
  • Case of Chef 5 Minute Meals; Apple Bar (Chef 5 Minute Meals)
  • Rechargeable flashlights (Coleman)
  • Rotations Shelf (Shelf Reliance)
  • Flashlights and head lamps (O. G. Hughes & Sons)
  • Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) golf umbrella
  • MRC blanket with built in pillow
  • MRC plastic tumbler with straw
  • MRC backpack
  • Mold Self Test Kits (donated by assured bio)
  • 6 gallon food grade bucket (The Grain Loft)

Attendees must register at the door for the opportunity to win.  Admission to the fair is FREE!

Coupon Expert to Share Tips

Having a stocked pantry is an important part of emergency preparedness.  Local coupon expert, Melissa Cox,  a.k.a. “Frugalissa Finds”, will be teaching a class at the fair to help you stockpile your pantry.  Using coupons can help you accomplish this task without breaking the bank.

Frugalissa Finds is also helping us give away a Midland Weather Radio today.  You can enter the giveaway here.

Admission to the fair is FREE!

Author to Discuss Tennessee Tragedies

Local Author, Allen Coggins, is a guest speaker at the fair this year and will sell his book, “Tennessee Tragedies:  Natural, Societal and Technological Disasters in the Volunteer State”  at a reduced price.  His book examines a wide variety of disasters that have occurred in the Volunteer State over the past several centuries.

Allen Coggins is a freelance writer and part-time subcontractor in the Environment, Safety, and Health Office of Oak Ridge Associated Universities, where he previously worked for twenty years.  Prior to that, he was a natural hazards planner with the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency.


Fair Helps Boy Scouts Earn Merit Badge

Scouts  participating in the fair can fulfill several requirements for their Emergency Preparedness Merit Badge. These requirements include talking with community leaders regarding the actions they take during local emergencies and taking part in an emergency service project. This is a great opportunity for Boy Scouts to learn about the many different aspects of emergency preparedness and also see what others in the community are doing to help when a disaster strikes the local area.

A booth will be set up to assist Boy Scouts with these requirements. Admission to the fair is FREE!