VIENNA - For a third consecutive year, the Grand Central Mall will be hosting an event Saturday to raise safety awareness in the Mid-Ohio Valley.
The Safety Day program will be noon-3 p.m. Saturday and will be free and open to the public, with activities and displays inside the mall and outside on the mall property.
The mall is partnering with Memorial Health System, the Parkersburg News and Sentinel and local safety officials.
Holden Powell, center, of Ellenboro puts on a firefighter suit and equipment with the aid of Vienna volunteer firefighters Anthony Richards, right, and Jason Morris during last year’s fire prevention event at Grand Central Mall. The 2014 Safety Day program will be noon-3 p.m. Saturday at the mall.
Brayden Somerville of Parkersburg sits on the front bumper of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department ladder truck during last year’s fire prevention event at Grand Central Mall.
Addison and Peyton Woodburn of Parkersburg get help from their mother, Meredith Woodburn, while sitting in the driver’s seat of the Parkersburg Fire Department tower truck during the 2013 fire prevention event at Grand Central Mall in Vienna.
Katrina Stephens, marketing director for the mall, said the event was originally held in 2012 and 2013 as a Fire Prevention and Awareness event. After two successful years, the decision was made to expand the focus to allow other organizations to participate as well, she said.
"We have a core group of five fire departments and a few other organizations that helped make the first two years of this event very worthwhile. With their help, and that of several sponsors, we were able to reeducate the community about fire prevention and safety, as well as distribute over 300 smoke detectors to the community," she said.
With the momentum of the previous two years, participating organizations hope this will be a great opportunity to educate the community on safety, awareness and prevention, Stephens said.
Families are encouraged to attend together, as organizations will be offering a variety of information, activities and displays, including photos with Smokey Bear and Sparky Dog, fire truck and helicopter tours, the Kid Print ID Program, police K9 units, a fire extinguisher simulator, driver safety, "Drunk Goggles," car seat safety checks, ATV safety and children's activities.
The first 250 families to stop by the registration booth at Center Court will receive a free goodie bag.
Memorial Health System will be conducting a blood drive, along with other offerings during the event.
The Vienna Police Department will be in front of J.C. Penney from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. as part of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Drug Take Back Initiative on Saturday. The one-day collection will provide residents with no-cost anonymous collection of unwanted and expired medicines.
More than a dozen organizations have come together to help with Saturday's event, Stephens said.
"I am so thrilled with the level of support we have already received from the participating organizations. They've been vital in the planning stages, and without their support, we would not be able to hold an event of this magnitude," she said.
To date, the confirmed participants are Vienna Volunteer Fire Department, Parkersburg Fire Department, Marietta Fire Department, Mineral Wells Volunteer Fire Department, Warren Township Volunteer Fire Department, Vienna Police Department, Parkersburg Police Department, Wood County Sheriff's Department, Washington County Sheriff's Department, MedFlight of Ohio, and the West Virginia Division of Forestry.
"These are the real experts," said Stephens. "They work in these communities day in and day out purely out of passion for what they do. They sacrifice a lot on our behalves and they do their absolute best to educate our communities. Our goal is to give them the platform and the spotlight that they need to spread that information even further."