BISMARCK, ND (KXNET) — September is National Preparedness Month, and as such, there’s no better time to learn what to do in an emergency situation. This monthly holiday has been embraced by the North Dakota Safety Council (NDSC), and at their Bismarck Campus on September 13, they held a massive Safetember Celebration dedicated to raising awareness and understanding of safety procedures for both individuals and professionals.
The event is not only celebrating the 5th anniversary of the NDSC State College, but also the 50th anniversary of the North Dakota Safety Council’s conference. In response to both of these monumental occasions, the Council has pulled out all the stops for the day’s events to both celebrate and show how safety isn’t just one person’s responsibility.
“We felt like we really wanted to open up our building to the community,” explains says the NDSC’s Senior Marketing and Communications Manager Tia Streeter. “We have over 900 member companies that are part of the council throughout the state, so we wanted to bring them in, as well as the general public, to showcase how community works for the NDSC, as well as how everybody ties together to keep the community safer.”
The major draw of the Safetember Celebrations is, of course, the live demonstrations. All throughout the event, live demos from safety organizations throughout ND took place — including fire and tower rescue, active shooter drills, drone rescue displays, and slip simulations. There were even additional sessions focused on self-defense, CPR, and safety tips more commonly used around the home.
“I think nobody thinks about their safety until the moment they NEED to think about their safety,” continued Streeter, “I think by taking a community event like this and showing people what this stuff looks like firsthand is important. Some of the trainings and demonstrations that we have going on inside the building, like slip simulations and fire extinguisher training, are things that people can take firsthand knowledge from back home to make their lives safer.”
Aside from the major event demonstrations, there were also plenty of all-day equipment displays that could be observed both inside and outside the complex focused on safety, electronics, and first aid. A Black Hawk helicopter was parked outside, showcasing some premier rescue equipment.
Although safety was still the main focus, there was still a bit of fun to be had that also helped stress the importance of proper strategies and procedures. Here’s Digital Reporter Brendan Rodenberg attempting to navigate the Slip Simulator (designed to teach the proper method of walking on slippery surfaces to mitigate the risk of falling).
While there’s certainly a bit of spectacle behind the demonstrated drills, it’s important not to forget that they’re being shown for a reason: to help people identify tense situations, what to do in the event they occur, and how to best prepare in advance. But this isn’t just for the individual, a better understanding of safety, according to the National Guard present at the event, is a community effort.
“I was 22 years old when 9/11 happened,” states National Guard Sergeant 1st Class Grant Semchenko. “When a situation like that happens, you have to have a group of people — like the National Guard — who are able to respond quickly and effectively. Having safety in mind is knowing that it’s not just safety for ourselves. It’s safety for the people we work with. It’s safety for the community. And it’s kind of everyone’s responsibility, so if we can all come together and share in that responsibility, it can make the world a better place. I think an event like this that’s talking about safety is just bringing this to light. There’s a lot of things we can do to just be safer, and showcases like this make people think about it more than they normally would have.”
Preparedness Month continues all throughout September, and plenty of groups throughout North Dakota are doing their part to help citizens be ready in case an emergency rears its head. Dunn County Emergency Management is releasing a new tip every day on their Facebook Page relating to disaster preparedness, and KX has chronicled every tip so far into one page for your reading pleasure.
We may hope to not see any disasters in the future, but in an emergency situation, both the Safety Council and the National Guard hope that events like these will help North Dakotans better understand what to do should disasters happen — and hopefully, prevent them from ever happening in the first place.
For more information about the Safety Campus or Safetember, visit the campus website.