(Posted June 8, 2020)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Debbie Sims, director of the Madison County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), is sad to announce that this year’s Safety Expo is cancelled.
“During this time, with everything that’s going on, it makes me sad we’re taking away a free and fun event,” she said.
This year would have marked the 19th year for the expo which was scheduled to take place on Aug. 29 at the Madison County fairgrounds in London.
Last year, a record-breaking crowd of 1,048 children and adults attended the expo to meet first responders, get up-close looks at fire engines and other emergency response vehicles, see medical helicopters land, and take part in hands-on safety lessons and demonstrations.
Due to the nature of the event, social distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 would be “almost impossible,” Sims said.
This was the main reason for the event’s cancellation. Additionally, the first responders and agencies that normally participate have been stretched thin during the pandemic. As such, Sims said she was unsure if their usual interest to participate would be there this year.
“And businesses have been overtaxed by (pandemic-related) restrictions and closures. I do not feel comfortable asking for donations of money or items for swag bags. This year, we were set to purchase and fill 500 bags,” Sims said.
The Safety Expo was established as a way to pay tribute to first responders in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. In addition to the features already mentioned, the expo includes police dog demonstrations, a bike rodeo, mental health and bullying resources, bouncy houses, face-painting and free food.
“We’re hoping next year the Safety Expo will be back and better than ever!” Sims said.
The 2021 expo is set for Aug. 28.