Record crowd attends Safety Expo

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Taner Smith, a firefighter with Central Townships Joint Fire District, helps Noah Cleaver, 9, of London direct the water spray from a fire hose to put out a pretend fire on a mock-up of a burning house. Cleaver successfully hit his target, learning just how difficult it can be to maneuver a heavy fire hose.

(Posted Aug. 27, 2019)

By Theresa Hennis, Staff Writer/Photographer

The Madison County Safety Expo welcomed a record crowd to the Madison County Fairgrounds in London on Aug. 24. A total of 1,048 people–577 children and 471 adults–attended the event, the most in its 18-year history.

The Madison County Emergency Management Agency hosts the expo in collaboration with emergency responders, law enforcement, health care providers and others. The event offers something for everyone, from hands-on safety learning adventures to clowns making balloon sculptures.

This year, the expo also included a dedication ceremony honoring Brad Haynes of London, a firefighter and paramedic who died in a helicopter accident on Jan. 29. A memorial bench was placed in front of the flag pole overlooking a field on which emergency helicopters land each year for the expo. Haynes enjoyed watching the helicopters land at past expos, and his family and friends felt it was the perfect spot to place the bench.

(From left) Jefferson Township Fire Chief Paul Van Horn of London, Madison County EMD Lt. Trish Hall of Mechanicsburg, and Chaplain Larry Baker of West Jefferson lead a ceremony dedicating a bench in memory of Brad Haynes of London, a firefighter and paramedic who died in a helicopter accident on Jan. 29. Baker, who serves Pleasant and Prairie townships, in addition to the 4 Unit Police Fire Retirees of Ohio (PFRO), said, “Over 600 times in the Bible, we’re called to remember. Our memories influence who we are, and we are called to look out for one another. Brad was always about doing that. What did we say after 9-11? ‘We will not forget.’ And we will not forget Brad Haynes and his service to our community.” Members of Brad’s family attended the ceremony and expressed how thankful they were for the outpouring of love and donations from the community for the memorial bench.
A memorial bench placed near the flag pole at the Madison County Fairgrounds is inscribed with the name of Brad Haynes of London, a firefighter and paramedic, who died in a helicopter accident on Jan. 29. Roby’s Memorial Design & Lettering made the bench with the help of private donations and donations from the Central Townships Joint Fire District, London Fire Department, Association of the Madison County Emergency Medical District, Pleasant Valley Fire Department and Jefferson Township Fire Department.
Nurse and paramedic Amber Vandenbos (left) of Cedarville answers questions about a Care Flight helicopter and crew from Gracie Salley, 5, of London as Salley’s mother, Shelley Salley, lifts her son, Wyatt, 1, into the helicopter. The Care Flight helicopter, part of Miami Valley Hospital of Dayton and based in Urbana, was a highlight of the expo for children and parents alike.
Ellie Peters, 7, of London taps out a Morse code message at the Madison County Amateur Radio Club booth. Members of the club, formed in 1979, enjoyed answering questions about their equipment.
A Shriner clown, Barrels Da Clown, of Cincinnati creates a balloon sword as Eli Wentzel (left), 3, of Plain City and his brother, Miles, 1, watch closely. Several clowns were at the expo to entertain the crowd.

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