Family Safety Day Entertains & Educates At Central Park

September 17, 2023 at 4:55 p.m.
Shown is a portion of Saturday’s Family Safety Day at Central Park from the top of the 100-foot Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory ladder truck toward the end of the four-hour event. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
Shown is a portion of Saturday’s Family Safety Day at Central Park from the top of the 100-foot Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory ladder truck toward the end of the four-hour event. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

By DAVID L. SLONE Managing Editor

Many agencies having to do with safety and emergency response could be found Saturday at Central Park for the return of Family Safety Day.
It was an opportunity for the public to positively interact with firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement and more while also getting the chance to see live demonstrations, learn what the organizations do and get some free stuff, too.

    Shown is a portion of Saturday’s Family Safety Day at Central Park from the top of the 100-foot Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory ladder truck toward the end of the four-hour event. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 

Family Safety Day was presented by the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory (WWFT) and sponsored by Lutheran Health Network, Lutheran Kosciusko and Kosciusko REMC. The annual event returned this year after being put on hiatus after 2019 due to the pandemic.
Fire Chief Brian Mayo, in his first year with WWFT, said, “It’s fantastic. Anytime that we can get all these entities and all these agencies out here together to - not just invite the public in but have them get some education, get some items they can take home to talk about safety in the home and safety around school and work and everything - it’s phenomenal.”
Though he’s served at other fire departments before joining Warsaw, Mayo said he’s never seen a Family Safety Day “to this magnitude. This is really well ran. Shirley Fetrow and Karen Smith and our committee that we have inside the department do a phenomenal job coordinating this. I can’t begin to mention all the people that have donated time and money and energy for the program out here.”

    The coordinated county dive team - which includes Warsaw Police Department, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office and Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory - offered boat rides on Center Lake Saturday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 

He said there were a ton of sponsors supporting the event.
“We couldn’t do it without all of them because it’s very costly, but they have all donated in-kind to pull this off. Lots of donations,” Mayo stated.
WWFT had an junior firefighter obstacle course during Family Safety Day for the kids, as well as an extrication demonstration and the CARES (Community Assistance Resources & Emergency Services) tent with a plethora of organizations under it. The fire department had a fire safety area with information and demonstrations about stop, drop and roll; fire extinguishers; and a smoke detector giveaway.

    Jeff Owens, public educator for Koorsen Fire & Security, with black female labrador retrievers Kasey and Karmel, demonstrated fire safety and were very popular during Saturday’s Family Safety Day at Central Park. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union


Organizations represented under the CARES tent included Advocacy Links LLC, Bowen Center, Indiana Department of Child Services, The Help Center, Julie Shearer Counseling LLC, Lutheran Health Services of Indiana, Remedy Live, SCAN, Fellowship Missions, The Magical Meadows, The Beaman Home and, of course, CARES.
Mikaela Bixler, CARES community health coordinator, said, “The CARES program helps people navigate community resources that they might need, so we wanted to bring them all together so that people can go one place to learn about the different services and resources in Warsaw and in Kosciusko County.”
She said they have seen, just within the CARES program and with what they’re doing, an increase in people who need rent assistance, low-income housing and other resources. “It’s a huge need in our area.”
If a person has questions about general needs, community resources and mental health services, Bixler said they contact CARES at 574-453-7901 or on Facebook at wwftcares.

    Part of the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Junior Firefighter Challenge was getting to use the fire hose. Firefighter Tristan Pass (R) helped the participating kids hold the hose steady. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

Down at the Center Lake beach, Mayo said the coordinated dive team that includes WWFT, Warsaw Police Department and the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office was providing boat rides on Center Lake to showcase all the tools and equipment they have.
“I’m just so pleased with all the turnout and all the vendors coming out. The mayor stopped by this morning and just thanked everybody for the participation of what’s going on. Everybody taking a Saturday out of their schedule to do this because this is one of the busiest times of the year with football and events, so it’s just great to see everybody out here,” Mayo stated.
Alicia Mediano, Lutheran EMS director of operations, said, “Family Safety Day is really important to us because it’s all about prevention, and so with the Network we try really hard to prevent people from ... having an injury. So like today we’re talking about car seat safety, talking about preventing those injuries in a motor vehicle accident before it would happen.”
    Thanks to the surgical center at Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital, kids got to do gummy work surgery inside the newly renovated Zimmer Biomet Center Lake Pavilion Saturday during Family Safety Day. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
Inside the pavilion, she said MedStat was talking about nutrition, taking care of one’s body and handwashing. The surgery suite from Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital had tools on display that they use, while the emergency room staff helped people make their own first aid kits.
Car seats were being given away Saturday, Mediano said, to help promote the idea of using them. A car seat clinic will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at Monteith’s Best-One Tire & Service of Warsaw, 1606 N. Detroit St., to show how the car seats should be put in. It’s completely free.
“And if somebody would need a seat replaced, we will have seats there that we will use to replace that seat that day as well,” Mediano said. “It’s all about prevention and keeping people safe.”
Also inside the renovated pavilion were a number of other organizations’ tables/booths including Indiana Donor Network, American Red Cross, Emergency Management of Kosciusko County, Stormwater Utility for the city of Warsaw, Walmart Vision Center, YMCA, Kosciusko Head Start and Early Head Start, Kosciusko County Solid Waste Management District and the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition.
Reggie White, state trainer for all school bus drivers, represented the Indiana Department of Education at a table.
    Crouse donated two vehicles for the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory to demonstrate extrications on during Family Safety Day Saturday at Central Park. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
“For us at the Department of Education, every school bus driver in the state - new bus driver - has to go through training, a three-day course, with us at the Department of Education. And every year they get retrained on different subjects - all bus drivers in the state - by the Department of Education as well,” he said.
Each year the focus changes. “One year might be railroad crossings. This year, we focused on statistics like how many bus crashes have happened throughout the country, how many deaths, things like that. And we’ve been fortunate here in Indiana that we have not had any this past school year. But, we always try to remind bus drivers how important they are to the kids and how safe they have to be when transporting someone else’s children,” White stated.
White said there are 16,000 active bus drivers in the state, and they can always have more. If someone wants to be a bus driver, wants to learn more about school transportation and what it takes to be a school bus driver, they can visit the Department of Education Office of School Transportation website.
One of the demonstrations outside in the park was Jeff Owens, public educator for Koorsen Fire & Security, with two black female labrador retrievers who demonstrated fire safety. The dogs’ names are Kasey, 8 years old, and Karmel, 3.
“The dogs actually know how to stop, drop and roll. They check a door to see if it’s hot. They crawl under the smoke. All of the things we teach the kids to do, the dogs are going to show them how to do it,” Owens said.
Owens, who is with the Carmel Fire Department, said they travel the country with the demonstration.
    Shown is a closeup of the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory vehicle extrication demonstration Saturday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 

“We’ll teach more than 400,000 kids a year. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
WPD offered a K9 demonstration, WWFT had two JAWS extrication demonstrations with vehicles provided by Crouse and Kosciusko REMC had a live wire demonstration.
Lineman Mike Whitaker said, “The live wire demonstration is designed to inform people of the process of what our company, KREMC, has to do in order to turn the lights back on. We give different scenarios and situations on what caused the power to go out and different scenarios and situations that cause several hundred people’s power to go out or it could be only two people’s power goes out. So that’s what we try to demonstrate - it’s not just a switch that we turn on, it’s a cause and effect, and we have to find the cause and then remedy the situation.”
    Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office deputies hand out free bike helmets and other items during Saturday’s Family Safety Day at Central Park in Warsaw. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 



Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Sgt. Doug Light said, “For me, this is probably my favorite event and I’m glad to see the city of Warsaw brought it back. If you just look around, it just has really every aspect of safety. It doesn’t really get any better than this.”
He said there was plenty of information on safety being offered for parents and kids. The KCSO was giving away free bike helmets while supplies lasted, as well as other freebies.
    The Lutheran Air Ambulance had a line of kids and adults to check out the helicopter Saturday at Family Safety Day. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
“For us to be here, and for kids to learn especially about the sheriff’s office and what a sheriff is, and they actually got to meet the sheriff, that’s just pretty cool. We’re thankful,” Light said. “Like I’ve said many times, this goes back to the great community we live on and putting on events like this. Our thanks to the city of Warsaw and Warsaw-Wayne Township Fire (Territory).”
    Logan Keener (L), Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory firefighter, lets a girl use toy tools to break into a roof as a firefighter might while battling a fire. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
Nina Freund, conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said they were just conversing with anyone that came up to them at their area outdoors and had questions about hunting and fishing.
She said the biggest misconception about what a conservation officer does is, “That all we do is check fishing licenses all day. I think that’s the main thing that mostly people think about us, is all we do is check fishing licenses, that’s our whole job.”
Freund said they have boat patrols, do ice fishing and fishing checks, have specialties like K9 units and scuba teams and more. “We have a wide, wide variety of stuff that we do,” she said.
She also confirmed that they can arrest someone when needed.
Some of the other things found Saturday included Tracey’s Trailer bike rodeo, Francine’s Friends breast diagnostic center, National Weather Service, Lilly Lakes & Streams, 1-800-BoardUp booth, touch-a-truck, face painting, 4H Shooting Sports trailer and the Lutheran Air Ambulance helicopter.

    A Warsaw Police Department officer lets a kid hold one of the guns on display Saturday at Family Safety Day. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 


Many agencies having to do with safety and emergency response could be found Saturday at Central Park for the return of Family Safety Day.
It was an opportunity for the public to positively interact with firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement and more while also getting the chance to see live demonstrations, learn what the organizations do and get some free stuff, too.

    Shown is a portion of Saturday’s Family Safety Day at Central Park from the top of the 100-foot Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory ladder truck toward the end of the four-hour event. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 

Family Safety Day was presented by the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory (WWFT) and sponsored by Lutheran Health Network, Lutheran Kosciusko and Kosciusko REMC. The annual event returned this year after being put on hiatus after 2019 due to the pandemic.
Fire Chief Brian Mayo, in his first year with WWFT, said, “It’s fantastic. Anytime that we can get all these entities and all these agencies out here together to - not just invite the public in but have them get some education, get some items they can take home to talk about safety in the home and safety around school and work and everything - it’s phenomenal.”
Though he’s served at other fire departments before joining Warsaw, Mayo said he’s never seen a Family Safety Day “to this magnitude. This is really well ran. Shirley Fetrow and Karen Smith and our committee that we have inside the department do a phenomenal job coordinating this. I can’t begin to mention all the people that have donated time and money and energy for the program out here.”

    The coordinated county dive team - which includes Warsaw Police Department, Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office and Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory - offered boat rides on Center Lake Saturday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 

He said there were a ton of sponsors supporting the event.
“We couldn’t do it without all of them because it’s very costly, but they have all donated in-kind to pull this off. Lots of donations,” Mayo stated.
WWFT had an junior firefighter obstacle course during Family Safety Day for the kids, as well as an extrication demonstration and the CARES (Community Assistance Resources & Emergency Services) tent with a plethora of organizations under it. The fire department had a fire safety area with information and demonstrations about stop, drop and roll; fire extinguishers; and a smoke detector giveaway.

    Jeff Owens, public educator for Koorsen Fire & Security, with black female labrador retrievers Kasey and Karmel, demonstrated fire safety and were very popular during Saturday’s Family Safety Day at Central Park. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union


Organizations represented under the CARES tent included Advocacy Links LLC, Bowen Center, Indiana Department of Child Services, The Help Center, Julie Shearer Counseling LLC, Lutheran Health Services of Indiana, Remedy Live, SCAN, Fellowship Missions, The Magical Meadows, The Beaman Home and, of course, CARES.
Mikaela Bixler, CARES community health coordinator, said, “The CARES program helps people navigate community resources that they might need, so we wanted to bring them all together so that people can go one place to learn about the different services and resources in Warsaw and in Kosciusko County.”
She said they have seen, just within the CARES program and with what they’re doing, an increase in people who need rent assistance, low-income housing and other resources. “It’s a huge need in our area.”
If a person has questions about general needs, community resources and mental health services, Bixler said they contact CARES at 574-453-7901 or on Facebook at wwftcares.

    Part of the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory Junior Firefighter Challenge was getting to use the fire hose. Firefighter Tristan Pass (R) helped the participating kids hold the hose steady. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union

Down at the Center Lake beach, Mayo said the coordinated dive team that includes WWFT, Warsaw Police Department and the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office was providing boat rides on Center Lake to showcase all the tools and equipment they have.
“I’m just so pleased with all the turnout and all the vendors coming out. The mayor stopped by this morning and just thanked everybody for the participation of what’s going on. Everybody taking a Saturday out of their schedule to do this because this is one of the busiest times of the year with football and events, so it’s just great to see everybody out here,” Mayo stated.
Alicia Mediano, Lutheran EMS director of operations, said, “Family Safety Day is really important to us because it’s all about prevention, and so with the Network we try really hard to prevent people from ... having an injury. So like today we’re talking about car seat safety, talking about preventing those injuries in a motor vehicle accident before it would happen.”
    Thanks to the surgical center at Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital, kids got to do gummy work surgery inside the newly renovated Zimmer Biomet Center Lake Pavilion Saturday during Family Safety Day. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
Inside the pavilion, she said MedStat was talking about nutrition, taking care of one’s body and handwashing. The surgery suite from Lutheran Kosciusko Hospital had tools on display that they use, while the emergency room staff helped people make their own first aid kits.
Car seats were being given away Saturday, Mediano said, to help promote the idea of using them. A car seat clinic will take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 30 at Monteith’s Best-One Tire & Service of Warsaw, 1606 N. Detroit St., to show how the car seats should be put in. It’s completely free.
“And if somebody would need a seat replaced, we will have seats there that we will use to replace that seat that day as well,” Mediano said. “It’s all about prevention and keeping people safe.”
Also inside the renovated pavilion were a number of other organizations’ tables/booths including Indiana Donor Network, American Red Cross, Emergency Management of Kosciusko County, Stormwater Utility for the city of Warsaw, Walmart Vision Center, YMCA, Kosciusko Head Start and Early Head Start, Kosciusko County Solid Waste Management District and the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition.
Reggie White, state trainer for all school bus drivers, represented the Indiana Department of Education at a table.
    Crouse donated two vehicles for the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory to demonstrate extrications on during Family Safety Day Saturday at Central Park. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
“For us at the Department of Education, every school bus driver in the state - new bus driver - has to go through training, a three-day course, with us at the Department of Education. And every year they get retrained on different subjects - all bus drivers in the state - by the Department of Education as well,” he said.
Each year the focus changes. “One year might be railroad crossings. This year, we focused on statistics like how many bus crashes have happened throughout the country, how many deaths, things like that. And we’ve been fortunate here in Indiana that we have not had any this past school year. But, we always try to remind bus drivers how important they are to the kids and how safe they have to be when transporting someone else’s children,” White stated.
White said there are 16,000 active bus drivers in the state, and they can always have more. If someone wants to be a bus driver, wants to learn more about school transportation and what it takes to be a school bus driver, they can visit the Department of Education Office of School Transportation website.
One of the demonstrations outside in the park was Jeff Owens, public educator for Koorsen Fire & Security, with two black female labrador retrievers who demonstrated fire safety. The dogs’ names are Kasey, 8 years old, and Karmel, 3.
“The dogs actually know how to stop, drop and roll. They check a door to see if it’s hot. They crawl under the smoke. All of the things we teach the kids to do, the dogs are going to show them how to do it,” Owens said.
Owens, who is with the Carmel Fire Department, said they travel the country with the demonstration.
    Shown is a closeup of the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory vehicle extrication demonstration Saturday. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 

“We’ll teach more than 400,000 kids a year. It’s a lot of fun,” he said.
WPD offered a K9 demonstration, WWFT had two JAWS extrication demonstrations with vehicles provided by Crouse and Kosciusko REMC had a live wire demonstration.
Lineman Mike Whitaker said, “The live wire demonstration is designed to inform people of the process of what our company, KREMC, has to do in order to turn the lights back on. We give different scenarios and situations on what caused the power to go out and different scenarios and situations that cause several hundred people’s power to go out or it could be only two people’s power goes out. So that’s what we try to demonstrate - it’s not just a switch that we turn on, it’s a cause and effect, and we have to find the cause and then remedy the situation.”
    Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office deputies hand out free bike helmets and other items during Saturday’s Family Safety Day at Central Park in Warsaw. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 



Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer Sgt. Doug Light said, “For me, this is probably my favorite event and I’m glad to see the city of Warsaw brought it back. If you just look around, it just has really every aspect of safety. It doesn’t really get any better than this.”
He said there was plenty of information on safety being offered for parents and kids. The KCSO was giving away free bike helmets while supplies lasted, as well as other freebies.
    The Lutheran Air Ambulance had a line of kids and adults to check out the helicopter Saturday at Family Safety Day. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
“For us to be here, and for kids to learn especially about the sheriff’s office and what a sheriff is, and they actually got to meet the sheriff, that’s just pretty cool. We’re thankful,” Light said. “Like I’ve said many times, this goes back to the great community we live on and putting on events like this. Our thanks to the city of Warsaw and Warsaw-Wayne Township Fire (Territory).”
    Logan Keener (L), Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory firefighter, lets a girl use toy tools to break into a roof as a firefighter might while battling a fire. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 
Nina Freund, conservation officer with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, said they were just conversing with anyone that came up to them at their area outdoors and had questions about hunting and fishing.
She said the biggest misconception about what a conservation officer does is, “That all we do is check fishing licenses all day. I think that’s the main thing that mostly people think about us, is all we do is check fishing licenses, that’s our whole job.”
Freund said they have boat patrols, do ice fishing and fishing checks, have specialties like K9 units and scuba teams and more. “We have a wide, wide variety of stuff that we do,” she said.
She also confirmed that they can arrest someone when needed.
Some of the other things found Saturday included Tracey’s Trailer bike rodeo, Francine’s Friends breast diagnostic center, National Weather Service, Lilly Lakes & Streams, 1-800-BoardUp booth, touch-a-truck, face painting, 4H Shooting Sports trailer and the Lutheran Air Ambulance helicopter.

    A Warsaw Police Department officer lets a kid hold one of the guns on display Saturday at Family Safety Day. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union
 
 


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