Safety expo this weekend
By Fran Odyniec
It continues to get bigger every year, and there is no shortage of space for something on this scale.
The 11th annual Madison County Safety Town and Expo will be front and center at the Madison County Fairgrounds on Elm Street this Saturday from 10 a.m. t0 2 p.m. Admission is free along with the food.
In the last three years, attendance at the Expo has more than doubled from 200 to 500.
According to Deb Sims, deputy director at the Madison County Emergency Management Agency and coordinator for the event, the Expo is geared to create and raise the awareness of the need for safety for both parents and children of all ages.
“The purpose of this annual event is to educate children and the public on safety issues,” Sims said, “and to introduce kids to first responders on a one-on-one basis.”
“There will be information for parents to take home,” she continued. “Every display in the Grange Hall and the Della Selsor Building has a safety message for the family as well as children.”
Not only will kids get to meet firefighters, police officers, sheriff’s deputies, Ohio State Highway patrolmen, and emergency medical personnel, they will also have the opportunity to inspect first-hand fire and emergency trucks, police cruisers, and the equipment and apparatus that are used in protecting the public.
“We’re creating the opportunity especially for kids to meet and speak with first responders in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere,” said Sims. “We hope this goes a long way to making kids feel more comfortable should they find themselves in an emergency situation when, for example, a firefighter will be fully suited-up.
“The fun part of it is that they can climb on trucks as well as meet the firefighters and officers.”
Each child who comes through the fairgrounds gates on Elm Street will receive a back pack and a card that can lead them to a prize when they leave the Expo.
“All they have to do is visit the displays and check off each icon on the card that corresponds with the display,” Sims explained. “When they complete the card they will get a gift on the way out.”
In commemoration of September 11, there will be a memorial service led by Dr. Lt. Teena Gallagher (ret.) of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office which will include a blessing of public safety personnel’s badges.
Always an impressive sight, two emergency service helicopters will make separate landings at the Expo.
At 10:45 a.m., the AirEvac Lifeteam helicopter will arrive. Then at noon, the MedFlight helicopter will land. Both aircraft will be available for inspection.
Taking the hands-on experience to a higher level, the Tri-County Joint Fire District (TCJFD) from Mt. Sterling will bring its famous “Smoke House” trailer to the Expo. The “Smoke House,” utilizing theatrical smoke, simulates smoke conditions that can occur in different rooms in the home and the importance of an evacuation route in those circumstances. A TCJFD firefighter will serve as instructor and guide.
Now, to give kids an idea of what it’s like to be a firefighter, Central Townships Joint Fire District (CTJFD) will set up its obstacle course consisting of items a firefighter might encounter on a call. Kids can navigate a tire “run” and then crawl through a tunnel, after which they will have the opportunity to “knock down” a “prop fire” operating a fire hose with the help of one of CTJFD’s firefighters. Firefighters from the Jefferson Township Fire Department will also help kids “work a nozzle” to aim water at a “prop fire.”
Displays and exhibits in Safety Town (Grange Hall and Della Selsor Building) from social and family agencies will include:
• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources trailer for instruction in safe handling of guns and bows.
• Madison County Sheriff’s Office’s D.A.R.E. program
• The Madison County Substance Abuse Coalition with information on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse
• Hurt-Battelle Memorial Library with Internet safety and Halloween safety information
• The Madison County-London City Health District with a variety of information on maintaining good health
• The Madison County Emergency Management Agency with tips on dealing with hazards and severe weather conditions
• The Madison County 4-H with its CarTeen safe driver education computer program that simulates different driving challenges
• K-9 Deputy Evan of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office will be “on patrol” with Deputy Nick Lisska.
London High School seniors will assist in counting admissions and in helping kids enjoy the bounce house and the velcro wall.
Volunteers from the Madison County Agricultural Society have provided the manpower and equipment to prepare the fairgrounds for the Safety Town and Expo.
“We couldn’t do it without Dave Gallimore and his crew,” said Sims.
The 11th annual Madison County Safety Town and Expo will take place (rain or shine) on Saturday, Aug. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Madison County Fairgrounds in London. Free admission is through the Elm Street gate; free food.