This past weekend, Clatskanie residents and other locals saw a helicopter rescue landing, a car extrication drill and learned how to escape a burning home.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28 at Clatskanie Middle/High School (CMHS), the Clatskanie Health and Safety Fair taught many local about safety topics like gun safety and locks, electrical safety, fire safety and earthquake safety.

The fair, which has been going on for many years, is held in Clatskanie every other year, and was open to everyone in Columbia County and surrounding areas. This year, the fair was hosted by the Clatskanie People’s Utility District (PUD), the Clatskanie Rural Fire Protection District (CRFPD), the Clatskanie Chamber of Commerce, United Way of Columbia County and Keep it Local Columbia County.

Participants who entered the fair were first treated to a free hot dog lunch, which included a hot dog, chips, an apple, and a water bottle. They could also get free ice cream from the Wauna Credit Union booth. They were then able to choose from a few different activities.

One of those activities was the EDITH Smoke House, or “Exit Drills In The Home,” which taught children and families lessons about fire safety.

In a trailer bearing a resemblance to a small house, children and parents watched a short 10-minute video about fire safety, which gave them basic instructions regarding what to do in a fire. After the video, they walked upstairs to a small room. As they stood there, a smoke machine downstairs started pouring in smoke. The children would then touch the door they had entered through, found that it was hot, and would exit down the fire escape. According to CRFPD officials, the point of the exercise is to teach children not to panic when there is a fire, and to have a fire safety plan.

Another activity was a training by LifeFlight and Columbia County Emergency Management, who staged a demonstration of airlifting a “patient” to a hospital in conjunction with the fair. At 11 a.m., children and parents watched on a TV screen at CMHS as LifeFlight landed on the baseball field outside. They then went outside to witness the transfer of the “patient” via ambulance to a hospital.

A final demonstration happened at 1 p.m., where participants could witness a car extrication drill, also performed by Columbia County Emergency Management.

In addition to the rescue demonstrations, children and families participated in numerous other activities, such as a physical fitness challenge, where kids had to do a certain number of sit-ups, push-ups and squats depending on their age group. Kids and families also cheered on mascots at a mascot race, featuring the likes of Smokey the Bear, Sparky the Fire Dog and Doernbecher Dolly. Building blocks were available for families to build structures with, and in the same area of the gym they could see an earthquake safety presentation at different times throughout the day.

Free helmets and gun locks were available to fair-goers, as well as flu shot vouchers, and places for participants to safely drop off their expired medications.

Along with activities and giveaways, many businesses, emergency services and groups from Columbia County set up booths within the CMHS commons to give participants basic safety information. Those who stopped by the Clatskanie PUD booth were able to pick up an information sheet featuring power outage tips, power safety tips and safety information regarding downed power lines. Those who stopped by the Columbia Community Mental Health (CCMH) booth could pet the service dog they had available which helps people calm anxiety, as well as stress relieving balls, magnets with the organization’s crisis line on them and informational sheets regarding handling anxiety and other mental health conditions.

Shaun McQuiddy, Enforcement Lieutenant with the Columbia County Sherriff’s Office (CCSO), said part of the reason why the CCSO was present at the fair was to promote safety in the community.

“Basically, it’s this partnership of safety members within our community,” McQuiddy said. “Anything that makes our community more livable as far as safety goes. We have a lot of programs that we [the CCSO] work with: gun safety, bicycle safety, school safety, home safety. That was kind of our focus here and what we brought to this.”

The CCSO booth was giving out gun locks, brochures for gun safety, as well as bicycle safety stickers. They also had reminder flyers at their booth about using booster seats and remembering to buckle up while in a car.

“I just hope everybody had a great time, it was a great turnout, and we look forward to doing it again,” McQuiddy said.

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