How can you tell if your fire extinguisher is still usable? Does your family have an evacuation place in the case of an emergency? Is your car seat properly installed and safe for your child? Do you own a carbon monoxide detector? These were just a few of the many questions answered at Family Safety Day in La Porte. General Insurance Services (GIS) hosted the annual event on Saturday at Crichfield Elementary School. Retired Chief and lifelong member of Center Township Volunteer Fire Department, Rod Carringer, in partnership with GIS, was instrumental in organizing the event.
“Being retired, I have the opportunity to help with the organization of these events,” Carringer said. “Every year, we’ve done fire prevention programs at Crichfield Elementary School for about 600 students. We thought it’d be nice to include families because there are a lot of other things besides fire prevention.”
As families arrived, they drove by the car seat check where safety officers from both the police department and fire department inspected the installation of the car seats. While walking towards the school, attendees were greeted with the aroma of complimentary kettle corn and hot dogs, courtesy of GIS.
“We really wanted to do something that would involve the fire departments, sheriffs, and organizations that really make our community go round, while also being educational for community members and maybe save a life. This year, we have the Red Cross here, as well as the Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation, which focuses on carbon monoxide safety training,” Kara Moon, Marketing Coordinator for GIS, said. “Our mission is to secure the future of the communities we serve. We have definitely branched out since our last Family Safety Day.”
Inside Crichfield Elementary’s gym, children and parents learned more about emergency preparedness. American Red Cross offered a free smoke alarm installation, as well as pamphlets from FEMA detailing what all one should pack in an emergency bag. The Lindsey O’Brien Kesling Wishing Tree Foundation gave carbon monoxide detectors to those in need and spread awareness about the silent killer. Children enjoyed throwing bean bags, playing with Sparky the Robotic Fire Dog, and helping their parents create a First Aid Kit at GIS’s booth.
“Our Family Safety Day last year at Washington Township was a great success. Lots of people came out to learn how to use a fire extinguisher,” said Brittney Marciniak, Customer Service Representative for GIS. “We focused on fire safety as well, like showing kids what to do if there was ever a fire and their parents weren’t around. We just want to help the communities we serve.”
Families gathered to listen to Deputy Andrew Hahn as he and his K9, Hokie, demonstrated how they work together. The crowd watched in awe as Hokie sniffed out an illegal substance, as well as when he “apprehended” volunteer Carringer. Later on, children were enthralled as the Center Township Fire Department demonstrated how to properly use a fire extinguisher.
“We brought our little guy out so he could see fire trucks and ambulances and participate, too,” Kristy Hahn of LaPorte said.
In between demonstrations, kids visited the EMS and Fire Department vehicles. Volunteers answered their questions and let them sit in the driver’s seat. Another volunteer firefighter showed small groups the Jaws of Life and explained what the machine is used for.
“My granddaughters like the fire trucks, they find it interesting,” Linda Wagman of LaPorte said. “This event is really a lot of fun for kids.”
If you missed today's Family Safety Day, don't worry! General Insurance Services will host another Family Safety Day at Washington Township later this Fall and plans to host two of these community educational events each year. To learn more about GIS, visit their website at https://www.genins.com/.