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Herndon Organizer to Host Emergency Preparedness Event

Jackie Johnson, a professional organizer, will demonstrate how to create an emergency kit and more.

Are you prepared for an emergency?

Professional Organizer Jackie Johnson wants to help make sure Herndon area residents are ready in the case of an emergency — from power outages to hurricanes.

Her notion of ensuring that people have what they need in an emergency began with Sept. 11, she said.

Johnson was a teacher when Sept. 11 occurred, and after the incident, she went straight to JJ Deli, the restaurant she and her husband own at the Herndon Centennial Golf Course, she said. She asked herself how they could help others.

After contacting the Arlington Red Cross, she and her husband worked assembly-line style to make boxed lunches for the volunteers at the Pentagon. “Food is comfort,” she said. “People always need food.”

The event helped her become more aware of organizations like the Federal Emergency Management Agency and later, the Department of Homeland Security, and the need for better emergency preparedness.

She began creating an emergency supply kit, and thought that as an organizer it was another way she could be helpful to the community. She said the National Association of Professional Organizers, of which she is a member, works with FEMA for this purpose.

This year, Johnson decided to spread the message further by holding a workshop at JJ Deli on emergency preparedness, especially in conjunction with September’s National Emergency Preparedness Month.

The event, “Being Ready and Prepared for Any Type of an Emergency,” will show families how they can set up their own emergency supply kits, how to create a family communication plan for emergencies and what to do with pets.

The free event will be held on Sunday, Sept. 30 from 3-5 p.m. at JJ Deli, 909 Ferndale Ave., in Herndon.

The Herndon Police Department will be on hand with information on how they prepare for emergencies. Additionally, Fairfax County Fire Department Herndon Station 4 will have information on fire emergency preparedness for the home.

The more people know about preparing for an emergency, the better off they will be, Johnson said. When an emergency happens there are many things to consider, including pets, elderly neighbors or relatives and children.

Neighborhoods should have a plan in place to check on the elderly and disabled, Johnson said. Those who prepare for emergencies with their neighbors can count on each other for assistance and information as well, Johnson said.

During Hurricane Katrina, many pets ended up getting left behind. Johnson said a proper plan should include tasks for each family member to assist with, including making sure the family pets are ready.

Not everyone sees the point of having a kit and a plan for emergencies, she said, but it’s something she believes in. “What does it hurt you to be prepared?” she asked. “Especially if you lose power.”

Johnson also has information available that will be handed out during the emergency preparedness event on how businesses can prepare and make sure their employees know what to do, as well.

“When an emergency happens it happens within seconds,” Johnson said. “You really have to make the time to do this. The more people are educated the better.”

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