Smith Twp. marks EMS Week with health fair
May 20, 2023
CENTERVILLE — The same volunteers who respond day or night when emergencies strike want to help keep their neighbors healthy, so they are providing an EMS Week Health Fair for community members on Tuesday.
Squad Capt. Patty Phillips said the Smith Township Volunteer Fire Department is partnering with WVU Medicine Wheeling Hospital to bring the event to the Smith Township Community Center from 6-8 p.m. The center is housed inside the former Centerville school, so displays will be set up in the entryway and in the gymnasium. Phillips said at least 27-28 tables will be set up to provide resources and information.
Phillips worked closely with Jeff Gazdik, EMS coordinator at the hospital, to plan the event.
"Before COVID, we had Stop the Bleed for the community and it went over really well," Phillips said. "So I called Jeff and asked, ‘What is another or different type of event we can offer for free?’ Within a couple of hours we had all sorts of ideas."
The two met a few days later and started to organize the fair. They contacted agencies such as the Belmont County Health Department and Sheriff's Department and soon had several groups ready to participate.
"Everybody is just so on board and so excited," she said.
In addition to the fire department and hospital serving as sponsors,other participants will include the Centerville Senior Center, American Cancer Society, Belmont County CARES, Amedisys and many more. Attendees will have the chance to review the Stop the Bleed training, get a refresher on using and AED and performing CPR, receive a blood pressure screening, diabetic eye exam or massag therapy. They can also learn about stroke awareness, trauma and fall prevention, advance directoves, sports injuries and a variety of other topics.
"The fire department wanted to do something for the community, and this is what we came up with," Phillips said. "I am surprised at all the doctors, pharmacists and different avenues that are going to be there."
She expects the gym to be filled with displays to the point that some will b e set up in the hallway. In addition to information, she said there will be giveaways and fun activities for children.
Kids ages 5-13 can sign up to win a camping package door prize, which includes a pop-up tent, sleeping bag, a chair and a cooler.
Givaways for adults will include such things as first aid kits and fire extinguishers. At the door, each visitor will receive a cinch filled with items such as burn cream and first aid cream. There will be separate bags filled with fun items for children.
Snacks and drinks will be provided by the Centerville Senior Center, and the So Nuts 4 Donuts and Kirke's Ice Cream food trucks will be on site. Phillips said as people enter, they will receive a ticket at the door. If they visit 10 vendors and get their ticket initialed, it can then be exchanged for a free doughnut and ice cream cone, compliments of the fire department.
And people do not have to live in Centerville to attend.
"I’m hoping we have a nice turnout," Phillips noted, adding that the event is open to everyone. "… Everything is absolutely free.
"People in the community are so supportive of us throughout the year," she continued, citing voters’ support of levies and residents’ willingness to donate to the department. "This is something small we can do for them and show them some appreciation."
Phillips said she also hopes the activity sparks some interest from people who might want to join the department.
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