Silverthorne kicks off summer with free bikes, safety info
Ever wanted to take a peek at the inside of a fire engine? Or see what it would be like to care for a patient in an ambulance? Kids will be able to try their hand at these during the annual Safe Summer Kickoff hosted by the Silverthorne Police Department.
Every year, local law enforcement agencies and emergency responders from around Summit County gather in Silverthorne to present a variety of “what-if” situations, while equipping kids with the necessary knowledge and tools to prevent a dangerous situation. A favorite activity is Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue’s “smoke trailer,” which simulates a house fire to teach the necessary precautions in finding a safe means of escape.
“It’s almost like a camper. You come in, see a little kitchenette, a place to sit and a door in the back,” Silverthorne police sergeant Misty Higby said. After learning to check the door to see if it is warm from a fire outside, smoke fills the trailer, and the kids learn to escape outside through a window.
Other highlights include taking a look at the interior of a Flight For Life helicopter, practicing paramedic skills on stuffed animals with the Summit Ambulance Service and a seat belt safety simulator with the Colorado State Patrol. Almost like an amusement park ride, the simulator shows kids how a seat belt works, and the importance of buckling up.
“It’s really cool to see (the kids) line up and see how interested they are,” Higby said. “Everybody, whether you’re a kid or not, loves being able to see the helicopter land and sit in the helicopter and see what it would be like to be a flight nurse.”
Dispatchers will also offer mock 911 calls, teaching children to provide an address and location at the time of an emergency, and Summit County Water/Dive Rescue will teach kids water safety.
“It’s beginning of summer; everybody wants to get on their bikes, go out on the river and go swimming,” Higby said. “We’re teaching families how to be safe and have fun.”
The key piece of the event, will be distributing free bike helmets to kids, teaching them how to properly adjust their helmets and, of course, giving them an opportunity to decorate them.
“The biggest part for us, by providing helmets, helps to reduce medicals for kids,” Higby said. “The other part was we had so many bicycles. We realized a lot of people were taking bikes because they didn’t have anything, so they were taking what they could.”
This year, the department is continuing the tradition of giving away free bike helmets to all kids in attendance, as well as hosting a drawing for a few brand new bicycles.
“It allows kids the opportunity to have bikes that maybe they wouldn’t have been able to have,” she added.
The event first started on a much smaller scale, 17 years ago, with former chief Mark Hanschmidt and several department members. Starting in the department’s parking lot, it quickly expanded as other agencies got involved.
“It just started with Silverthorne residents,” Higby said. “Now, it has expanded out to the entire community for Summit County.”
This year, the Safe Summer Kickoff has moved to the Silverthorne Elementary School parking lot, with more space to host the many agencies that will attend. The event includes all local police and fire departments, the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the Division of Wildlife, U.S. Forest Service, Summit County Animal Control, Advocates for Victims of Assault, American Red Cross, Safe Kids Foundation and the Breckenridge and Keystone Medical Centers, among others.
The Silverthorne Police Department purchases all of the helmets, food and bikes for the event, with the support of grant funding and community donations. In the past, City Market has donated food and beverages for a free barbecue to top it all off.
“When there is a donation, it goes to purchase of helmets and bicycles,” Higby said. “Whatever’s not covered by donations, we pick up the rest.”
This year’s Safe Summer Kickoff will be held on Saturday, June 4 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Silverthorne Elementary School. All activities, food and beverages at the event are free.
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