Kids can have fun, meet first responders and learn about local emergency services at Aug. 20 event

BUCKHANNON – Families can meet Upshur County’s first responders and enjoy several fun activities during an expo at Maniac Mountain later this month.

Gloria Burr, the director of Upshur County EMS, said the first responders in the county used to arrange a safety expo until COVID forced them to stop for two years.

“It used to be called a safety expo, and the reason I would call it that is because of all the first responders out there,” Burr said. “People could see the fire trucks and the ambulances, and they learned how those worked. We used to have the helmet truck come out, and they gave out free bike helmets. However, they’re not doing that currently, so we didn’t get them [this year].”

This year’s expo will take place on Saturday, Aug. 20 at Maniac Mountain (1659 Teter Road). Plans call for the event to feature an appearance from a HealthNet helicopter and possibly one of the National Guard’s aircraft.

There will also be safety demonstrations at the expo, as well as a bounce house and water slide.

“We’re going to have law enforcement and we’re going to have fire trucks so the kids can see first responders and the equipment that we have,” Burr said. “We’re also going to make it fun this year since everybody’s been cooped up. That’s why we went to Maniac Mountain, because they have a water slide and bounce houses.”

As the event nears, the schedule keeps expanding, Burr said.

“It just keeps growing,” she said. “We’re going to have a smokehouse, which is a building that simulates a real fire, so the kids can go in and see what it’s like in a burning house. They can fill it with smoke and they can make the walls warm. When they touch the walls, it feels like the fire is close, so that’s pretty cool. We’re hoping they get to see some of the stuff we do and be able to have fun and enjoy themselves and see all the equipment that’s out there.”

Other activities planned for the expo include a slip-and-slide, drunk goggles, tug-of-war, goodie bags for children, an obstacle course, and a DJ. The event is free to the public, but vendors at the event will be selling goods. Burr also recommended bringing a change of clothes because there will be water activities.

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