Fair stresses bicycle safety

June 19, 2008

More than 120 children climbed into a fire engine, listened to police sirens, heard about bicycle safety and tried on face masks Thursday.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri held a safety fair at Parkview Elementary School, where children got safety tips and a peek inside emergency vehicles.

Sedalia-Pettis County Emergency Management Agency Director Dave Clippert took his daughter, McKenna, through the agency’s Mobile Command Center vehicle.

“I’ve never been in there before, so it was cool,” the 10-year-old said.

Clippert led the children through it and showed them the equipment, but said the vehicle “was not as exciting as the fire truck.”

Sedalia firefighter Larry Newbill helped children jump down from the high steps out of Engine No. 2, where they got to try on helmets and air pack face masks, and see all the gear packed into the truck.

“I think it would be a big space if all the stuff weren’t crammed in there,” said Noah Benscoter, 11.

Benscoter said the fire truck was “pretty cool,” and enjoyed trying on the helmets and seeing the chainsaw.

Fellow club member Caroline Young, 10, picked up some fire safety tips while at the fair.

She learned “it’s never OK to play with matches,” she said.

Bike safety was on the mind of Mary Casto.

“You don’t want to ride your bike without a helmet,” she said.

Otis Brock, a member of the Pear River Bicycle Club, brought a helmet worn by a cyclist who was hit by a car — and survived — to promote bicycle awareness.

“I think a lot of times parents make sure their child has a helmet, but they don’t wear one,” he said.

“We’ve been promoting the bicycle helmets and how important they are,” said site director Sandy Stephens, who planned the event. Children could buy helmets at the safety fair for $5.

The children went on a scavenger hunt through the vehicles, and found emergency tools like the Jaws of Life.

“I’m doing health and life skills (lessons), so we read a lot of books and talked about safety until they got here,” she said. “There were things in the book that they needed to look for.”

While the children, who ranged from kindergarteners to fifth-graders, headed for a swim after the event, McKenna got to take a ride. She went home in the mobile command unit with her dad.