Play­ing it safe

Fam­ily Safety Night Out set for Satur­day in Haven

The Republican Herald - This Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY DANIEL P. PROSICK COPY EDITOR

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.

DAVID MCKE­OWN / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

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.

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