Safety Day promotes awareness through fun

By Josette Keelor

Organizers of the 9th Annual Community Safety Day will not let predictions of rain dampen their spirits for a fun day of educational activities promoting safety throughout the community.

The day of food, children’s activities and safety demonstrations will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today in the Health Professions Building on the north end of the Winchester Medical Center Campus at 1775 N. Sector Court.

Originally planned for Jim Barnett Park, the fair has been moved to the rain location because of a chance of showers.

Activities should still take place, according to Carol Weare, public relations manager for Valley Health.

Included in the lineup are distracted driver and fire extinguisher simulators, a bike obstacle course and inspection, an AirCare helicopter landing, a golf cart obstacle course, a mini emergency room and child safety seat checks. Local law enforcement will host a prescription drug take-back day for expired medications.

Visitors will learn 911 awareness, safe practices when swimming, boating or riding ATVs, hand-washing and choking safety, safe care of toddlers, infants and animals, Internet and texting safety and even Halloween safety.

Visits with the Winchester Police Department’s K-9 officer Kota will be from 10 a.m. to noon.

New this year will be a demonstration by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force, a response to a recent increase in the number of heroin-related deaths reported around the area, according to organizer Lisa Wells, an RN with Winchester Medical Center’s trauma services.

Shenandoah Valley Electric Cooperative will have a setup showing how electricity can arc. Two martial arts groups have planned self-defense and anti-bullying demonstrations, and a dementia education tent will give visitors a look into the mind of someone suffering from dementia.

“That’s something that we’re excited about,” said Wells.

According to Weare, Community Safety Day fulfills a goal that Winchester Medical Center has as a level-2 trauma center, to reach out to the community and teach about how to prevent trauma.

“Most communities probably do a public safety fair, and most hospitals do a health fair,” she said. Community Safety Day combines both, with help from various community businesses and organizations.

In Winchester, it started as the Kids Bike Safety Fair, before Wells took over planning nine years ago. Food and advertising is sponsored by the Winchester Medical Center Foundation. Children will receive free bike helmets while supplies last and can enter for a chance to win a new bike.

“First year,” Wells said, “probably had about 100 or 150 kids come through.” Since then, good years have pulled in 400-500 children.

But there’s something for everyone, she said, pointing out that fire safety and seatbelt safety applies to everyone.

“We’ve got a very good response from the community,” she said.

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or jkeelor@nvdaily.com>