Public safety begins with knowledge, local emergency officials said.
And Orscheln Farm and Home will be the center of an education push Saturday to help residents learn more about the resources available for keeping them safe. A second annual safety awareness event is planned 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday in the Orscheln’s parking lot, 2008 S Princeton St., Ottawa.
Personnel from city and rural fire departments, Ottawa and Wellsville police departments, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Franklin County Emergency Medical Service, Franklin County emergency management and American Red Cross are expected at the event, where workers will hand out information on public safety and answer questions, Alan Radcliffe, emergency management director, said.
“We want to get more information out to the public so they’re more aware of what resources are available in the community in case of an emergency,” he said. “The event also is to raise better public awareness, not only from our office, but also from all the first response agencies.”
The awareness day gives the community an opportunity to meet members of different departments and response units, as well as get a look at the emergency equipment they use, Radcliffe said.
“We’re the only paid fire department in the county,” Dennis Nowatzke, Ottawa Fire Department captain, said. “We felt it was important for us to be there. It gives us an opportunity to meet the public and answer any questions they have and give them an opportunity to meet the firefighters and pass out fire safety information along the way.”
The Ottawa Fire Department plans to have its aerial apparatus truck available for the community to view, Nowatzke said.
“The other fire departments in the county don’t have an aerial truck,” Nowatzke said. “It’s something that’s unique for our department to show off.”
For the rural fire departments, the event also is an opportunity for firefighters to be recognized by the community for their volunteerism, Vicki Eckard, emergency management coordinator, said.
“I think people are surprised when they hear they’re volunteers,” Eckard said. “I think it’s good for people to be there and ask a few questions and realize that ‘Gosh, these guys are volunteering to help everyone in the community,’ and I think that brings a bit of awareness to people who might not have known that.”
With spring weather brewing up severe storms, members of the community also are encouraged to bring a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration all-hazard weather radio to the event to be programmed by the emergency management department, Radcliffe said.