FREDERICKTOWN — Disaster Education/Safety Day at Fredericktown High School on Saturday brought together emergency responders who teamed up to assist members of the public who wanted to know more about what those responders do.
Fredericktown Police Chief Jerry Day said the event was planned “to show the people what is at our fingertips if something should happen. For example, if we’re looking for a missing person, we could call the [State Highway] patrol in with their helicopter. We just wanted to show what is available in the county.”
Some of what is available was lining the high school parking lot. There were patrol cars, ambulances and more.
The mobile command post of the Mount Vernon Amateur Radio Club was one of the vehicles on display. Arlin Bradford, assistant emergency coordinator, gave tours of the vehicle which serves as a communications hub in an emergency situation.
The children at disaster education day were, of course, fascinated with the emergency response vehicles. Matthew and Nichole Groseclose especially liked the helicopters and Eben Cochran, 21-months-old, liked checking out the driver’s seat of the Fredericktown Emergency Medical Squad’s four-wheeler.
A special treat at disaster/safety day was a graphic demonstration by a trio of American Electric Power employees of what happens when someone, or something like a shovel, tree limb or automobile, comes into contact with a live power line. Before beginning, they cautioned the crowd, “Don’t try this at home.” Other employees strolled around the audience, answering many questions about electricity and safety and letting children such as 5-year-old Ava Parker try on the heavy rubber gloves worn for protection.
Besides the outside exhibits of rescue vehicles, several informational kiosks were located inside the high school building, loaded with information.
Knox County Dog Warden Jim St. Clair was on hand to talk about pets and emergencies and had a sample pet first aid kit on display as well as informative handouts.
Dave Patton was happy to explain the mission of the Knox County Medical Reserve Corps, a group of about 20 medical professionals and non-medical professional volunteers. “We do several things,” he said. “As an example, we help with rabies clinics, we collect medical information through some of our volunteer work, we participate in disaster drills and we work at the drive-through flu shot clinic. Basically our goal is to provide support to public health personnel and to support medical personnel.”
The News caught up with community member LouAnn Wolford at the Red Cross display. Wolford said she was at the event for a specific reason. “Our church (Christ the King Community Church) is interested in perhaps becoming a disaster shelter,” she said. “Also we want to do some disaster preparedness training with our church members. ... I’m here to find out what resources we have available.”
Wolford was talking with Rick Drenning, AmeriCorps member serving the Red Cross, which co-sponsored the event. “The purpose is to make the public more aware of preparedness for emergencies and disasters,” he said, “particularly in the households.”
One safety tip Drenning mentioned had to do with checking one’s home fire extinguishers on a regular basis.