Warman firefighters kick off helmet safety program

Warman Mayor Sheryl Spence joins Warman firefighters to kick off the annual bike helmet safety campaign June 6

Warman Fire Rescue (WFR) member Jeremy Chaskavich jumped at the opportunity to coordinate the department’s bicycle helmet safety program.
“This was something I always wanted to do,” said Chaskavich, a rookie member of the WFR, in an interview on Wednesday, June 6, the day the WFR helmet safety program kicked off for the summer.
“I’ve lived here in Warman my whole life, and I remember how exciting it was to get the coupons from the firefighters when I was a kid.
“It’s a great program, and I think it makes a big difference.”
Warman firefighters, along with Warman Mayor Sheryl Spence, officially launched the WFR’s annual bicycle helmet safety program at the city’s fire hall the evening of June 6.
Warman Fire Chief Russ Austin said the program is aimed at encouraging children to wear helmets while riding bikes, skateboards, and scooters.
“We take a fire truck out around town every Wednesday evening,” said Austin, “and every time we see a youngster wearing a helmet while riding, we talk to them and give them a coupon that they can redeem at a local business for a treat like a slushie or ice cream or small pizza.
“The kids can put their names on the back of the coupon and enter it in a draw to be made at the end of the program for prizes like bikes, helmets, scooters and skateboards.”
Chaskavich, said this year the program was expanded to offer a greater number of prizes, and more businesses are involved in redeeming coupons.
“I wanted to make it a little bigger, so I went to a few more places and got some more corporate sponsors on board,” he said.
Chaskavich said while the focus of the program is on kids, the larger objective is to encourage everyone to wear helmets.
“The challenge is to get adults to buy into it,” said Chaskavich. “If the parents aren’t wearing helmets, then it’s hard to expect kids to do it. It’s the whole ‘role model’ thing.”
He said the training he is receiving as a medical first responder in the WFR is an eye-opener.
“Until you actually go out to some of these accident scenes and deal with the people who are hurt, you don’t really understand how serious injuries happen, and how they can be prevented,” said Chaskavich. “A helmet absorbs the impact if your head hits something hard.
“It actually doesn’t take much to break your skull if you’re not wearing one.”
Chaskavich said over the next few weeks, WFR members will be visiting the elementary and middle schools in Warman to promote the program and provide bicycle safety tips to students.