Free First Responder Bash is fun for everyone

VIENNA — Kids had a blast at the Vienna First Responder Bash on Saturday at Spencer Park in Vienna.

The event was free to the public and featured many fun learning opportunities for children of all ages.

“The children are really enjoying it,” said Lt. Rob Pifer, of the Vienna Police Department.

According to Police Chief Mike Pifer, he originally had the picnic idea as a way to reach out to the local students and help them learn how to be prepared in the event of an emergency.

“When kids arrive, they go to check in and receive a punch card, then they take it with them to the stations set up around the park,” said Chief Pifer said of Saturday’s event.

“Each station offers a different safety lesson,” said Raymond Myers, Captain of Rescue at the VFD.

“For example, we are making sure kids know at least two ways to exit their house, and what to do if their clothes catch on fire,” said Myers.

Aside from safety lessons, a few of the areas had access to fire trucks, police cruisers, a SWAT bearcat truck, the 911 mobile command center and an ambulance, that the children got to climb inside of and see or handle some of the equipment.

According to Chief Pifer, booths including clubs, Scouts and other groups children could involve themselves in were set up around Spencer Park as well.

After visiting the booths and having their cards punched, the children could turn them in to win one of the many donated prizes, said Chief Pifer.

“Some of the prizes were bikes, outdoor toys, an Ipad mini, Pittsburgh and Columbus Zoo tickets and gift cards to local stores and food places,” he said.

While waiting to see if their name would be drawn, kids and families could enjoy an inflatable course, interacting with the first responders and their vehicles, get their picture taken with a screech owl, pet 4-H animals, enjoy the free food and sno-biz cones and many more activities.

“There was so much local support and donations,” said Chief Pifer.

“We hope to do this again next year and make it an annual event,” he said.

According to Chief Pifer, Bob Nichols, with the DARE program, Officer Adam Jones, a Vienna officer and prevention resource officer at Jackson Middle School, and Linda Kerns, the event planner for the city of Vienna, were all a huge part of bringing his idea into reality.