By John Robinson
Emporia Gazette – May 26, 2016
Emporia may have been in the midst of a tornado watch, but at the Lyon County Fairgrounds children were fishing, riding jet skis and helping put out fires, all in the name of learning how to “Keep It a Safe Summer.”
“KISS is geared at safe and educational activities that your child can do in the summer,” Lyon County Extension Agent Rhonda Gordon said. “We have 49 vendors from A to Z — Camp Alexander to the Emporia Zoo — and everything in between.”
Children were encouraged to visit at least 10 of the booths in order to qualify for the chance to win a prize at the end of the night. Gordon said she hopes the experience helps give parents ideas for summer activities.
“If you need your child signed up for an event this summer to keep from hearing ‘I’m bored,’ then this is the place to be,” she said.
Richard Gould, battalion chief with the Emporia Fire Department, was one of the representatives at KISS. The fire department had a station which let children try their hand at handling the hose from a fire truck.
Gould said the most important thing to remember when dealing with fire is to make sure it is fully extinguished.
“If you do have a fire, go back and check on it a day or two afterwards,” Gould said. “Always think about what could possibly happen, and if you think something bad might happen — if you have a plan to prevent it — I think you’ll be OK.”
Gould said quality fire extinguishers can be purchased from stores like Wal-Mart, Waters True Value or Bluestem Farm & Ranch.
“When you use an extinguisher, it’s a ‘point, aim, sweep, sweep,’” he said. “And if you’re having to use a fire extinguisher, you should probably give the fire department a call as well.”
Deputy Jeff Rodriguez from the Lyon County Sheriff’s Office helped lead a demonstration on proper helmet use when riding a bicycle.
“We show them how to properly put on a helmet,” Rodriguez said. “Make sure it’s properly level, not too high and not too low. They want to be able to get one or two fingers under their helmet to make sure it’s got the proper tightness.”
Inside the Anderson Building, children had the opportunity to ride a jet ski machine while Aaron Scheve, game warden with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, gave tips for staying safe on the water.
“Our number-one thing is kids wearing their lifejackets when they’re on the water,” Scheve said. “Also making sure the boat has proper safety equipment; but lifejackets are the number one thing.”
Scheve also recommended informing a friend or family about any plans for going out on the lake and letting them know when you plan to return.
“That way, if something happens, they know if you’re overdue and where to go look for you,” he said, adding if boaters do run into trouble on the water, they should contact their local sheriff’s department. “They will dispatch a game warden to them whether they are in the water or out in the forest somewhere.”
Posted by Gwen Romine, KSFFA Webmaster