Playing it safe
Family Safety Night Out set for Saturday in Haven
Residents in the southern area of Schuylkill County will have an opportunity to meet local first responders — instead of having first responders meet them under fraught circumstances — at an event this weekend.
The Schuylkill Haven Recreation Department will be hosting Family Safety Night Out with Fireworks, starting at 5 p.m. Saturday at Island Park. The event is free and open to the public, according to William “B.J.” Folk, Schuylkill Haven recreation manager.
“It’s a family event for … not only children, but adults that are interested in what kind of safety and volunteer groups are around the community,” Folk said, adding that conversely, “we’re trying to give the people that give back to the community in a selfless way an opportunity to meet the residents” they serve. “They see people at their worst moments; hopefully people come out, introduce themselves … see what they do, see what it costs for equipment. And they’re meeting them at not such a dramatic time in their life.”
Save for an emergency, the gettogether will feature the Schuylkill Haven Police Department; Geisinger Life Flight; Lehigh Valley and Geisinger medical centers; Liberty Fire Company, Rainbow Hose Company and Schuylkill Hose Company; the county Sheriff ’s Department and more depending on availability.
The first responders will do demonstrations based on their agencies’ strong suit, be it fire departments doing jaws of life and live hose displays, sheriff ’s department doing fingerprinting, apparatus showings, a Life Flight landing and helicopter inspection and more. Affable crime preventing animals Smokey Bear and McGruff the Crime Dog will also be doling out lessons on good decision-making, Folk said.
Where there is education, there will also be eats and entertainment, as familiar fare such as hot dogs, hamburgers and pizza will be for sale. Officials such as Mayor Mike Devlin and county Commissioner Gary Hess will be manning the deep fryer, serving up chicken fingers, pierogies and fresh-cut french fries, Folk said. A 50/50 raffle and basket raffle, with donations going to a charitable cause, will be held. Mindset, a Pine Grove band, will provide the music starting about 6 p.m. before the crepitation of fireworks takes the stage at 9:30 p.m.
“They did a good job last year and we look forward to listening to them again,” Folk said.
Then, for the second year in a row, a 25-minute fireworks show will dazzle, Folk said. However, if ever-mercurial Mother Nature decides to rain on the parade, fireworks will be pushed back a day; he could not say the same for Safety Night.
“We don’t want to tie up too much of their (first responders’) time,” Folk said. “They give back to the community so much and we’re fortunate to have them for one night,” let a lone trying to use their resources for a second.
Folk couldn’t stress enough the importance not only of the time first responders take, but also of the event’s founder, Sarah Fisher.
“She created safety night out 3 years ago and we’re very lucky that she’s been accommodating and flexible. Without her help and support this event wouldn’t have happened,” he said. He added that the event would not run near as smoothly without the help of volunteers setting up for and working through the event.
“This all could not be possible without them,” Folk said. “Everybody sees the events and they don’t see the prep work prior to it.”
Up next at Island Park will be Island Park Festival on Aug. 18, Folk said. It will feature all-day games, music and entertainment to benefit Island Park revitalization.
People line up to take a seat in Geisinger’s LifeFlight helicopter during last year’s Family Safety Night Out. This year’s event will be held at 5 p.m. Saturday at Island Park, Schuylkill Haven.