The Town of Canton held its annual Summer Fun and Safety Fair on a brilliant sunny Saturday. Sponsored and organized by the Board of Health, many members of the Canton Fire Department and Canton Police Department also staffed information booths filled with critical summer safety information. Meanwhile, attendees were given equal parts fun to go along with the education, including the inflatable moonwalk, the petting zoo and the hay ride, which gave passengers a great overview of the beauty of Pequitside Farm.
Attendance at this free event was high, considering one of the main safety draws was the Childhood ID program. While many people may remember getting their fingerprints stamped and picture taken as a child, the technology used at this event highlighted how advanced the Childhood ID Program (CHIP) has become. Fingerprints are electronically scanned, rather than inked, and photographs are no longer snapped, but digitally preserved as well. Participants went home with a CD copy of their information.
Terri Khoury, Canton’s Public Health Nurse, stresses that if parents missed this important opportunity, they should be sure to attend Canton’s Fall Health Fair at Canton High School, where the “CHIP” program will again be offered.
LeAnn Wetherall, who helped organized the CHIP event, was happy with the turnout.
“We’ve been here since 8:30 this morning and we’ve had at least 80 to 85 kids,” she said.
Another big summer safety message was Bike Safety. Children who earned stickers by learning about summer safety issues at the different informational booths were able to redeem them for free bike helmets. Canton Police Department’s Bike Officer, Ainsley Cotard, then offered tips to parents and kids alike on how to properly fit a helmet on one’s head. The proper use of a helmet is crucial, he said.
Canton High School was represented by several students who ran booths teaching about Lyme Disease, tick identification, skin-care and sunblock. Several of the students had their faces painted to look like bugs, which provided a comical teaching opportunity.
“I’m having a lot of fun, meeting lots of new people. It’s always good to reach out to the community and help people be safe,” said Bonnie Skinner, a CHS freshman and community service learner.
A half dozen of the Canton Public Works Department’s trucks were parked by the playground and left open for children to explore. There were many children grateful for the chance to blast the loud horns of the trucks, and many parents were smiling and wincing as they covered their ears.
Another important summer safety feature was the “Medication Take Back” program run at the event by Canton Police Lt. Patty Sherrill. Hundreds and hundreds of no-longer-needed medication was dropped off at her booth. The medications will all be taken to a crime-lab where they will be safely destroyed by incineration.
“We encourage drop-off events like this,” Lt. Sherrill said. “It encourages everyone. When you change the batteries of your smoke detectors, you should also empty out your medicine cabinet.”
Lt. Sherrill’s suggestion to make a habit of biannually removing unused or expired medications from the home serves to remind us all of danger of medications falling into the wrong hands in the home, and what we can do to decrease the risk of exposure.
Last but not least, Anglenook Farm owner and sister of Board of Health Director John Chiccotelli, Tish Chiccotelli brought a wonderful menagerie of four-legged friends. A llama, rabbit, mini-horse and several chickens were available for petting and visiting.
Volunteer Sarah Piehler explained their mission at the event. “We are here to bring awareness to animals, exposing kids to animals,” she said.
In terms of safety, Piehler and other animal wokers enthusiastically wished to remind Canton residents about the absolute importance of good hydration for pets this summer, as well as keeping pets cool.
Terri Khoury of the Canton Board of Health thanked the many town volunteers who helped with the event, and extolled the importance of the yearly community safety fair.
“It is an opportunity for residents to come and learn about summer safety, and it’s free. It is the only way I can educate a large amount of my community in a short, effective manner. It’s not like the old days. I can’t go door to door!” she explained.
For thorough and up-to-date information on Emergency Preparedness, residents can visit the Canton Board of Health’s website by clicking here.