Home Depot offers free fun, education at safety event
By REBECCA OLSON
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
October 3, 2012 · Updated 10:01 AM
When fire trucks, games, emergency vehicles, free treats, bounce houses and even a clown come together, it may seem like a dream come true for kids. The blend of fun and life-saving safety education available at Home Depot’s eighth annual Fire Safety event can be a dream come true for their parents in the event of a fire or other emergency.
At Home Depot’s safety event, safety information spreads like wildfire with the exciting blend of entertainment and interactive learning. The event is completely free and runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 6 in the Home Depot parking lot.
“October is traditionally about fire safety, making sure you’re testing your fire alarms and have fire escape plans in place,” said Terry Tirado, front end supervisor at Home Depot. The event also covers safety in the home and how to deal with medical emergencies.
As the weather cools and more heat is used in homes, and lights and candles are used at Christmastime, fire danger increases.
“It’s important because everybody tends to forget. Throughout the year, you don’t think about it,” Tirado said of fire safety. That’s the goal of Home Depot’s event: to bring fire and home safety back into the spotlight in an enjoyable and memorable way.
“It’s all about safety and making kids aware,” Tirado added.
Last year, more than 500 children attended the event and met local celebrities like Freddy Fire Truck, Sparky the Dog, firefighters, police and emergency services personnel.
While identifying hazards in the safety house, making mock 911 calls and using a fire extinguisher may seem like adventures to children, the hands-on experiences reinforce vital lessons.
“There’s a lot of learning. Every station has its cool learning aspect; it’s not just look at the pretty firetruck,” said Home Depot Store Manager James Croft.
Emergency medical services will offer CPR training, ICOM will give children experience making 911 calls, children will identify outlets with too many plugs or stoves with pots hanging over the side as safety hazards in the safety house and the Oak Harbor Police Department will offer two safety clinics on drugs and bicycles. The Navy K-9 unit will give canine demonstrations.
A member of the Oak Harbor Fire Department will walk around dressed in full firefighter gear. Tirado said children are often terrified of firefighters during an emergency, making a rescue more difficult.
“They look like a big giant boogeyman,” Tirado explained. Seeing a firefighter in a non-emergency situation helps children to adjust prior to the event of an emergency.
But a host of fun and games keeps the mood light. Children can try out a fire extinguisher, a big hit at last year’s event, Croft said. The Energizer Company donated pink bunny ears to be distributed to children. Hotdogs, cotton candy and popcorn — all free — add to the festive atmosphere of the event.
Holding the event is a way for Home Depot and the organizations involved to give back to the community.
“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.
“Come out and enjoy, learn and have a good time!” Tirado said.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Rebecca Olson at email@example.com or 360-675-6611 ext. 5052.