An estimated 200 people turned out for the 20th annual Public Safety Day held Sunday by the Highland County Firefighters Association at the Hillsboro Kroger store.
Scott Miller, the training coordinator for the firefighters association who organizes Safety Day each year, said the association had 100 bags containing safety items for kids and that they gave them all away and then started passing out other items. He said that while the crowd was not huge, it was the largest display of equipment the association had ever gathered for the event with approximately 40 pieces.
New displays this year included a school bus provided by Hillsboro City Schools Transportation Coordinator Ron Ward and an Ohio Department of Transportation snow plow.
“It’s just a good way to get to meet the people we protect in better circumstances than when we’re responding to some type of emergency situation. And it gives us a chance to get some safety and crime prevention information out to the public,” Miller said in explaining why the association puts the event on each year,
Safety Day is held the second Sunday of each June and Miller said he expects it to be back again next year.
“We’re going to keep doing it until we feel it’s not serving its purpose,” Miller said.
The event was free to public and featured fire, life squad, law enforcement and other public safety vehicles, along with medical helicopters from MedFlight and Miami Valley CareFlight. Along with the Highland County fire departments and life squads, other agencies participating included the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Leesburg Police Department, Ohio State Parks, Highland County Dog Pound, Buckeye Ambulance and Hillsboro City Schools.
Activities included the Child Safety House where children enter a trailer that fills with what looks like smoke and teaches kids how to exit a smoky building, child fingerprinting, safety handouts, and children spraying fire hoses, along with displays of pictures from area department activities.
Miller said a couple departments weren’t able to make it to Safety Day due to emergencies that arose, but that overall it was a good turnout.
Demonstrations included two live burns, an auto extraction and a Hillsboro police K-9 demonstration.
Concessions were available for a freewill donation and Miller said the association raised a couple hundred dollars that will be used to help purchase a power point projector and recording equipment for training programs.
The event started around 1996 in the Kmart parking lot then was moved to Kroger. It has only been canceled due to rain once.
“It would not be the success it’s been without all the personnel and departments that volunteer their time to help out, the citizens coming out, and Kroger and its staff. They really do a lot to help us,” Miller said.
The firefighters association is celebrating 35 years of service to area departments. Along with public service events, the association provides free fire and EMS training opportunities to all member agencies, which include: Paint Creek, Highland North, Lynchburg, Southern Highland, Brush Creek Fire, Marshall Fire, Bainbridge, Brush Creek Life Squad, Fayetteville, Clinton-Highland, Peebles, and the Highland County Sheriff’s Office.
For more information about the firefighters association, email [email protected], or call 937-981-3394, extension 831 and leave a message.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.