Oak Harbor event to get families fired up about safety
By REBECCA OLSON
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
September 23, 2011 · Updated 3:16 PM
From crawling through a smokehouse to education from Smokey the Bear, Home Depot’s Fire Safety event will get children excited to learn fire and home safety.
Head to Home Depot in Oak Harbor on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a completely free day of family activities.
This annual event kicks off Fire Safety Month. It will be twice as big as last year’s event, said Home Depot Store Manager James Croft.
A helicopter-building workshop, bouncy house and cotton candy promise to glue a big smile on every child’s face, but while the fun is geared toward the kids, the learning is for everyone. Blended with safety topics that go beyond fire safety, like bicycle, boating and home safety, families will take away more from the event than just a fun day.
“It’s a chance to think about safety before the holidays, when you use more heaters, candles and have live Christmas trees. Many people don’t have a plan for a major disaster. Our goal is to give people ideas about developing these plans,” Croft said.
“In today’s world, kids are home a lot on their own so it’s about teaching them. We want to educate our children to come up with a fire safety plan for the home to evacuate if there are no adults around,” Team Depot Captain Liz Bennett said.
She said it’s important to help families develop fire escape plans, learn to stop, drop and roll if clothes catch fire, and identify what’s unsafe around the home to save lives — all topics children can learn about at the event.
There will be plenty to do for people of all ages. The Military Working Dogs team from Whidbey Island Naval Air Station will do canine unit demonstrations, the Boy Scouts will perform clinics on outdoor safety, Puget Sound Energy will teach energy safety and South Whidbey Fire and Rescue will bring their smokehouse to teach children what to do in a smoke-filled home.
The Oak Harbor Fire Department, Oak Harbor Police Department and Home Depot will teach bicycle safety and provide bicycle tune-ups and free helmets.
Fire trucks, police vehicles, a rescue boat, Freddy Fire Truck and Sparky the Dog will also join in the festivities.
Children can play games — like ring toss, darts and digging for gold — learn how to build a helicopter and watch clowns make balloon animals while enjoying music by a DJ.
“People loved it in the past. We typically run about 200 kids through and get great feedback,” Croft said.
The organizers hope to double that number this year since they’ve doubled the number of participating local groups.
“We’re excited to do this. I love giving back to the community in any possible way I can and Home Depot gives us the avenue to do that,” Croft said.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Rebecca Olson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5052.