We all know how important safety can be, and we hope we never are put in a situation where our safety may be compromised. That is why being prepared is especially important and why it is never too early to educate ourselves and especially our children.

I know what this youngster wants to be when he grows up, maybe a firefighter? (Photo by Pam Guenther).

So, when I heard that they were having a special event on July 23 in the Walmart Plaza in Jasper I wanted to check out just what was going on. Lots of families and kids showed up for this special four-hour event, and there was lots to do and learn about. On hand were several area businesses in the medical, safety and insurance fields as well and of course the local fire department and their very important guest Smokey Bear.

No need to explain who this famous guy in the middle is along with his two companion forest rangers, it’s Smokey Bear! (Photo by Pam Guenther).

It was a great learning experience for all who came out with a lot of free handouts, yummy snacks and hands-on learning experiences.

The kids even got to pretend to put out a real fire by shooting an actual water cannon toward a mock house with fire blazing from the windows.

This young visitor to the event learns quickly how to put out a mock house fire. (Photo by Pam Guenther).

They also got to meet Smokey Bear in person and got to wear their own official Fire Department hats too!
Visitors could also go inside a “Safety House” to learn how to prepare and be safe if a fire was to break out in their home.

Plenty of vendors were on hand, giving out free information to parents and kids alike. Even though it was a hot day there was plenty to keep you cooled down like the free snow cones some of the vendors were handing out, too.

It was understandable why visitors to the event were drawn to the State Farm tent with all the free homemade goodies to sample. (Photo by Pam Guenther).

It was a great hands-on learning experience for everyone that attended. The kids got to see just how the big fire trucks could handle putting out a real fire and they also were able to meet firefighters from the Pickens County Fire Department.

Jasper’s finest firefighters stand in front of a fire truck where kids could check out and learn about them. (Photo by Pam Guenther).

The event was a win-win for everyone involved, and there was lots of great information for the parents as well as how to keep their families safe in the event of a real emergency.

Piedmont volunteers were also on hand to give out some freebies and answer any questions. (Photo by Pam Guenther)

Of course, we all know that the reality of emergency situations such as a fire can be a real-life changing event. House fires represent 26 percent of all fires in the U.S. Fifty percent of house fires start in the kitchen due to cooking.

Alaska has the highest death rate of any other state in the nation as far as house fires statistically speaking, with 27 people that will die out of a million people suffering a house fire.

With temps well into the 90s that day, it was a great time to visit the free slushy booth where this nice couple were happy to hand out. (Photo by Pam Guenther).

Five good tips to remember to prevent home fires are 1) keep kitchen safe, 2) have a fire extinguisher in place, 3) smoke alarms in every room, 4) practice fireplace and candle safety, 5) keep all equipment clean and up to date.