By Savannah Owens
The 911 Connection event was put on by the first responders to educate children and the public about safety.
“The city of Commerce has a fire education trailer and the Sulphur Springs firemen asked if we would bring the trailer over and teach the kids about fire safety. It’s important to get people used to practicing [their safety plans].” Myles Zimmerman a firefighter from Commerce said as he showed KSST the education trailer. The trailer is a simulator including a kitchen and a child’s bedroom. With fake smoke and flames, it’s used to show parents and kids about fire safety and the importance of having an exit plan. One of the methods used to teach fire safety is EDITH or Exit Drills In The House. Make sure you “memorize how to get out of the house, and have a back-up plan.” Zimmerman explained.
“And always having a meeting point-the big tree out front, the water hydrant, or the mailbox.” Jordan Strickland, Hopkins County Fireman, added. “Everyone always asks why do we need a meeting point? It’s because Mom knows where her kid’s rooms are, and where they’re supposed to meet, so if one of the kids is missing, she can say ‘their room is over here, and this is how they were supposed to get out’…It saves seconds so we can get them out faster. And if you’re in the house and you come across a room in flames, don’t go back, stay near the walls, and stick to your exit plan.” Zimmerman encourages parents to talk to their kids about fire safety. “A lot of times we bring kids into the simulator and they jump at the sound of the fire alarm. We want the fire alarm not to be a scary sound, they just need to know it’s time to get out of the house…It all starts with the parents educating their kids on what to do if there’s a fire.”
The Sulphur Springs Police Department made Kidprint ID’s. The cards have the child’s, name, picture, date of birth, address, and parent’s contact information. These IDs are a recommended precaution just in case something happens. “Some parents put them in lanyards, when they go to places like six flags.” SSPD Patrol officer, Josh Shufeldt said. “We also recommend renewing them yearly, since kids grow and change a lot in a year.” If you missed them on Saturday, don’t worry! “We go to a lot of functions around the community.” The police will also print them at the department Monday through Friday, just make sure to call ahead.
BooBoo SSFD’s Fire Safety Clown even made an appearance!
Sulphur Springs EMT’s were passing out goodie bags full of fun items at the event. “It’s all about supporting the community, coming out to educate and to have a good time…and to give out free stuff!” Kim Mullins said excitedly, as she handed kids frisbees, key-chains, chapstick and pens.
Flight for Life had a helicopter and prize wheel for kids and families to spin to win prizes. Founded in 1985, Flight for Life has been in existence for over 31 years. They have four helicopters, and one plane operating out of several cities such as: Tyler, Willis Point, and Mt. Pleasant. Flight for Life has 20 pilots, 26 paramedics, and 26 nurses on their team. Pilots tend to work 12 hour shifts, while nurses and paramedics work 24 hours. The transport radius is 100 miles from each base.
Having been working in the medical field for 37 years, Jim Speier, said he wasn’t always sure about his future. “I didn’t know what I wanted to as a kid, my dad was a pediatrician…I got into [the field] for the lights and sirens, but quickly realized that’s not what this is about….I’d be just as happy taking Grandma from her home to her doctor’s appointment. It doesn’t always have to be something major…I just love people and I see them on their worst days, but that’s okay, because it’s almost like a ministry.”
The 911 connection was educational and fun as well! Other activities included the Kona Shaved Ice truck, Bounce houses, Smoked BBQ, face painting, and on the splash pad at Celebration Plaza. Kids and Parents learned about safety while having fun in the process! Make plans to attend next year!