DANVILLE — Tuesday evening in Danville, safety experts had the opportunity to meet with hundreds of members of the Amish community to discuss health and safety lessons.
Caree Varughese, director of the Knox County Safe Communities Coalition and an educator with the Knox County Health Department, said the event is sponsored by the Safe Communities Coalition each year as a way to reach out to the Amish through presentations relevant to their community.
The Amish families who attended said the event provides them with interesting information from several sources. Information included topics for people of all ages and both genders.
Lt. Chad McGinty, commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol post at Mount Gilead, and Mike Miller, Ohio Department of Natural Resources wildlife officer, spoke with the men and boys about hunter safety issues. Keeping younger hunters safe was discussed.
Joe Sellers of Kokosing Construction demonstrated the proper use of safety equipment such as harnesses, gloves and goggles. Some of the long-held traditions of the Amish have interfered with some safety precautions. Sellers explained safety harnesses were a critical precaution which should not be affected by tradition, and they do save lives and prevent injuries.
Ways Amish women can keep their families healthy and safe were also discussed.
A breast cancer early detection discussion was led by Diana Endsley, a registered nurse and educator from Knox Community Hospital. Endsley said the women asked her informed questions, and seemed to take a lot of information away from the class.
Iva Weaver of Danville said she lost her mother to breast cancer, and believes early detection could be crucial for her and the rest of the women in her family.
“She and her two sisters were all diagnosed with breast cancer within 15 months,” Weaver said.
Firefighters from Eastern Knox County Joint Fire District passed out smoke detectors and spoke about fire safety. Mental Health America passed out information about memory loss. The Farm Bureau table was busy throughout the evening, and the Knox County Health Department and Knox Out Tobacco provided information.
Volunteers checked blood sugar and blood pressure. Four people were found to have dangerously high blood pressure and were urged to seek further treatment from their doctors.
Hundreds listened as Linette Porter, an instructor with the Knox County Chapter of the American Red Cross, went over what to do for someone who is choking, not breathing, or whose heart has stopped. A previous CPR class taught by Porter made a lasting impact on a young family here.
Martha Hershberger held her 10-month-old son, Steven. Three months ago the baby would have died, had his mother not known the steps to administer CPR and rescue breathing.
Hershberger said the training just automatically kicked in as she began breathing for her son.
“If I hadn’t learned, I wouldn’t have known [CPR],” Martha said. “They said at the hospital it saved his life.”
Porter said teaching classes and giving presentations in the Amish community is an important way to bring the communities onto common ground.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to touch base with the Amish community,” she said.
Maria Hartland, an Akron Children’s Hospital community health educator, presented information on oral health, a health problem common in the Amish community.
“We have the largest population of hemophilia B patients in the world who happen to be Amish and Mennonite living in this community,” Hartland said.
People with this genetic disorder who allow dental problems to get out of control have to have their teeth pulled, a simple procedure which becomes very complicated and expensive in patients with hemophilia B.
McGinty talked with families about home safety, and also about drug and alcohol problems.
Aden Weaver, who helped organize the first of these safety events years ago, said the community learns new things each year from those who participate.
“I think everything was great,” he said of this year’s event. “I think having Chad [McGinty] here is a real good thing with the drug and alcohol thing because it’s affecting everyone’s community.”
He said the church congregations did a great job spreading the word to bring large crowds to the event.