Wilmington residents convene at Cape Fear Preparedness and Safety Expo

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From virtual reality experiences to tornado simulations and rescue gear displays, residents of Wilmington received tips on disaster preparedness at the Cape Fear Preparedness & Safety Expo on May 11.

The event, hosted by the American Red Cross, featured local vendors that were passionate about community safety. Vendors focused on disaster preparedness tips regarding hurricanes, flooding, and home fires, which are all common disasters along the coast.

Guests also had an opportunity to experience what it’s like to be a Red Cross volunteer assisting the community during a disaster at the Red Cross Virtual Reality booth, created by OnecallVR. image1

The video, filmed after Hurricane Matthew, virtually placed viewers in flooded roads and intersections,  alongside volunteers distributing food and water, cleaning up the remains of houses, stocking emergency response vehicles, and  taking care of residents in emergency shelters.

In a booth nearby, Red Cross volunteers  Anna Crutchfield and Leween McIntosh ran a fire safety and prevention table.

Crutchfield, a single mom working full-time, wanted to get involved and volunteer. She had a very limited schedule, but said Red Cross made volunteering flexible for her. She now helps the Red Cross promote home fire safety by installing free smoke alarms in area homes.

Leween McIntosh and her husband have been volunteering for the Red Cross for more than three years and say home fire preparedness is their passion. The pair spend their weekends educating people on how to prevent home fires and how to create home fire evacuation plans.

For more information on how to keep your family safe, visit www.redcross.org/disaster.

A special thank you to local sponsors, Live Oak Bank, New Hanover Regional Medical Center and WWAY for making the event possible. 

Story by: Haley Franks/American Red Cross

 

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