Richard Rock couldn't believe what he was seeing, shortly after Hurricane Sandy ripped into the East Coast. People were so hungry they were dumpster diving. They had had ample warning to leave the area or prepare for at least days of seclusion in the aftermath of the storm, yet here they were, desperately seeking a meal in the trash.
Rock, who is the commander of the Wilmington VFW Post 5422, is holding a free preparedness workshop later this month to give residents some insight on what they should have on hand if an emergency requires them to leave home quickly, and what supplies might be needed if they have to shelter in place.
Rock is a member of Live Free, USA, a group that promotes and supports self-reliance, self-sufficiency and self-protection for responsible people of all races, religions and nationalities. Live Free members learn about home protection, first aid, gardening, holistic medicine and outdoor survival skills. Preparedness is a main focus of the group.
An emergency can happen at any time; there could be a nuclear accident at one of the nearby power plants, a train hauling chemicals could derail, or Mother Nature could bring down floods, tornados or blizzards.
Emergencies that affect a large area might require an evacuation. Rock's workshop will give examples of good things to pack into a "bug-out" bag, or "go-bag" to ensure everyone leaving home takes important medical information, identification and basic necessities.
In some emergencies, residents are safer if they shelter in place. There could be widespread power outages, inoperable water systems and closed transportation systems, meaning whatever food and water is in the house when the event takes place, that's what the inhabitants have to live on for an indeterminate period of time.
The workshop will teach residents what to do during a shelter in place emergency, and provide information about what supplies are good to have on hand.
The preparedness workshop will be held Jan. 26, at 6 p.m., at the VFW, at the corner of Baltimore and Third Street in Wilmington. It is the first of three workshops Rock will present.
Commander Rock is also a master gardener, and will be using the knowledge he gained with that certification as well as the gardening skills learned through Live Free to teach a free course on container gardening next month.
During the Feb. 9 presentation, which begins at 6 p.m. at the VFW, he'll teach attendees how to raise 120 plants in a 4 square foot container garden.
The third workshop in the series will focus on outdoor cooking, and there will be a slight charge. Rock is planning demonstrations in Dutch oven cooking, making meatloaf on a stick and cake inside an orange. The outdoor cooking workshop is scheduled for March 23, at 3 p.m., at the VFW. Additional information will be released closer to the event.