An ounce of prevention: Health and safety fair showcases emergency, health care agencies
by Jessica Loeding
May 21, 2013 | 1168 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Prevention is the key.

For Barry Brown, the man behind Bartow County Scanner on Facebook, educating the public on health and safety matters was the driving force behind the inaugural Bartow County Health and Safety Fair.

“I have noticed that surrounding counties have events that involve public safety agencies and medical providers that offer a variety of educational resources through information and demonstrations,” said Brown, who heads the event. “I contacted Bartow County Sheriff’s Office to see if there was an event in Bartow of this nature and was told that they were not aware of one, but would be interested in participating. I feel this will benefit the community as we can learn more about safety, health risks and other issues that affect the citizens. It is also important to get to know a little more about the agencies who serve this community.”

Scheduled for June 22 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at The Hope Center in Cartersville, the fair has commitments from the BCSO, Bartow County and Cartersville fire departments, Bartow County EMS, Air Life Georgia and other agencies. Health care groups will be on site providing health screenings and service information, along with several food and beverage vendors.

Offered free to the public, vendors and agencies will highlight services and products available to the community.

“I am excited about the whole thing. There are several agencies that offer so much to the community that this will be a way for them to showcase those programs,” Brown said. “BCSO has the Ident-A-kid Program as well as other interesting exhibits. BCFD and CFD both have educational programs that include clowns and a safety house that gives you a firsthand experience. The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety sponsors a rollover simulator that shows you why wearing your seatbelt can save your life as they spin a vehicle with dummies inside.”

But, giving back is the thing that thrills Brown the most. “I guess, if I really had to pick a single thing, it would be the dunking booth and other potential outlets to raise funds for this year’s Shop with a Hero program.”

With vendors being asked to donate a portion of proceeds to Shop With A Hero, applications for participants and vendors will be accepted through next week.

“We are still seeking applicants from anyone wishing to participate. We are encouraging medical and dental providers, as well as special interest groups that specialize in social issues — domestic violence, child abuse, etc. — and even insurance agencies, to sign up,” Brown said. “We also have ways that local businesses can be involved by sponsoring certain activities.

“The registration deadline is June 1, but we will try to accommodate any request made up to [June] 15. Priority is given on a first-come, first-served basis. There is no fee involved as long as the participants are offering a service or information free to the public. Participants may be allowed to sell certain services or items that pertain to the topic they are representing. Food and beverage vendors that are legally allowed to sell in Bartow County may apply, but we do ask a donation be made to the Shop With A Hero program.”

Sponsored by Bartow County Scanner, Cartersville Medical Center and The Daily Tribune News, the outpouring of support surprised Brown.

“My first obstacle was finding a location to host the event. Cartersville Medical Center was generous enough to fill that void, as well as offer multiple ideas that they could do to be involved,” he said. “I requested some volunteers to form a committee and was overwhelmed by the response. I had to narrow it down to just a few that I thought could offer experience in different fields. In that group were a few representatives of The Daily Tribune News and, since they have put in as much as I have in seeking participants, it was fitting to include DTN as a sponsor.”

For The Daily Tribune News’ Publisher Johnette Dawson, Brown’s efforts aimed at education and prevention prompted the newspaper to lend its support.

“For so many of us, the only time we interact with health care providers, firefighters, police officers or first responders is during an emergency,” she said. “The health and safety fair provides the community an opportunity — at no cost — to meet those same people and learn more about the services available to residents.

“We are proud to be part of an event that invests in the safety and well-being of our families and future generations.”

With plans to make the event an annual occurrence, Brown said he hopes the health and safety fair gets off to a great start.

“Not having any previous experience in an event of this nature, I really do not know how many people to expect but 1,000 would be a great start,” he said. “It is easy to sit idle and wait for things to change, but it takes determination and hard work to initiate that change. With your help, we can help make Bartow County one of the safest and healthiest places to raise our children and for them to raise theirs. Benjamin Franklin, who made many contributions to public health and safety, once said, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”

For more information or to register, visit www.peopleofbartow.com or email events@peopleofbartow.com.