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Firefighters Inspire Children at Fair

Firefighters Inspire Children at Fair

Albany Democrat Herald via YellowBrix

June 14, 2010

SWEET HOME — Many heads turned skyward as EMT/firefighter Alex Thompson carefully climbed to the top of the 105-foot ladder mounted to one of the community’s newer fire trucks Saturday morning during the third annual safety fair sponsored by the city.

This event has been renamed the Jim Bean Memorial Safety Fair in honor of the longtime city councilman who died earlier this spring of a heart attack. His widow, Hiromi Bean, said she was honored that the event was named after him.

Fire Chief Mike Beaver said that although the community has only a few two-story buildings, the long ladder is required to meet insurance standards and for firefighter safety.

“Instead of climbing onto an unstable roof, we can position a firefighter over the roof and there’s a water gun on the ladder,” Beaver said.

Beaver said the safety fair is a good way to show the public where their tax dollars go.

“It’s a great way for people to see what the capabilities of our equipment are and to return something to show people we appreciate them,” Beaver said.

Several hundred youngsters and their parents spent several hours at the Sweet Home Police Department to take part in a bike inspection and rodeo, learn about local, county and state law enforcement programs, watch demonstrations by the public works department and to learn how city crews use a measuring wheel to calculate distances.

Another Michael Beaver, this one with Access Information Management, was busy dumping boxes of old documents into a shredding truck sponsored by Linn-Co Federal Credit Union. The goal was to help put a spotlight on curbing identity theft, said Michelle Swett, of the credit union.

“We’ve shredded about a ton and a half so far,” Beaver said of the first two hours’ work. The shredded paper later was delivered to a recycling company.

Public works staff members filled balloons with water and invited youngsters to toss them as far as they could.

Ashley Roebuck, 9, of Sweet Home, picked up a lime green balloon and gave it a mighty heave. Ashley Bolen of the public works department helped her maneuver the measuring wheel to mark how far it had flown. It was a fun math lesson. Guiding the community’s sewer line camera also was a big hit for many of the kids.

Gina Riley of the Sweet Home Police Department was pleased with the bicycle safety events and noted that more than 150 helmets had been given away.

Brian Wagers and Mark Montigue staffed the bicycle inspection station and said most of the bikes were in good shape.

“We could use some reflectors next year,” Montigue told Riley.

His son, Colby, 10, said his favorite event of the day was watching the Oregon State Police bomb squad’s robot.

“It’s just like a transformer,” Colby said of the animated machines popularized on television and in movies.

Assisting with the bike rodeo were volunteers from the Christian Motorcyclists Association. Ron Shearer said several dozen kids gave the course a try.

“Some of the younger ones just went in a straight line and didn’t even try to go around the pylons,” Shearer said with a laugh.

Three Sportsman’s Holiday princesses — Megan Sanderson, Jazmine Morris and Kelika Kaniaupio — helped to pass out a variety of free safety information packets.

The Sweet Home Police Department had its first prescription drug turn-in, gave tours of the police services building and took photo IDs for kids sponsored by the East Linn Masonic Lodge.

A visit by a REACH medical helicopter also scored big points among the youngsters. Sodas and hot dogs were prepared and donated by volunteers from CH2M Hill.