MARIETTA - Nearly 400 children packed Marietta's East Muskingum Park on Sunday for an afternoon of safety lessons and fun.
Nine-year-old Rebecca Kruse, of Marietta, seemed a little nervous about taking hold of a fire extinguisher and putting out a small fire - one of more than a dozen hands-on safety demonstrations available for children to try.
"So far it's a lot of fun," Kruse said after safely putting out the fire. "The fire truck is my favorite part so far."
Photo by Brad Bauer
Children ride atop an Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department truck Sunday during an annual safety fun day at Marietta’s East Muskingum Park. Nearly 400 children participated in the free event.
In addition to the safety lessons, there were games, inflatables and members of Oak Grove Volunteer Fire Department took children for short rides on one of the department's fire pumpers.
The free event, known as "Sunday Funday," is sponsored each year by the Washington County Chapter of the American Red Cross and local Kiwanis clubs. This was the seventh year for the event.
Local health officials and emergency personnel from various agencies set up booths to educate children and parents on the importance of youth safety. Music, games and other activities provided entertainment to go along with the educational items.
Jo Seyler, executive director of the Red Cross in Washington County, said keeping things fun helps to keep the kids interested and coming back each year.
"September is Disaster Awareness Month and we're really encouraging families to review their preparedness in the event of an emergency or disaster," Seyler said. "Just looking back at last week's storm should show everyone the importance of being prepared."
The local Red Cross chapter sent four Disaster Services Human Resources officials to Athens and Meigs counties to help open a shelter and assist the 20 to 30 families there whose homes were destroyed or damaged by Thursday's storms. Washington County was under a tornado warning as the line of storms moved through the area, but damage locally was not nearly as significant.
Kruse's mother, Lynn Zakazeski of Marietta, said her daughter was concerned by the storm warnings.
"It scared her, but I think it bothered her more when she heard about everything that happened after the storms," Zakazeski said. "We talked about what we would do in a storm ... That the basement was the safest place and that we would go there with the animals."