Scream for Safety and trick-or-treat, too

Published: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 at 2:24 p.m.

An educational and family-friendly trick-or-trick event with an odd assortment of costumed good witches, goblins, superheroes, vegetables and fruits has been planned for the 6th annual Scream for Safety.



What: The 6th annual Scream for Safety, with trick-or-treating, games, booths, and a costume contest.
When: 4-7 p.m. Oct. 13.
Where: Kiwanis Safety City, 1025 NE 13th St.
Cost: Free.
Information: Call 352-334-5078 or email

Sponsored by Gainesville Fire Rescue, the event will be held from 4-7 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Kiwanis Safety City at 1025 NE 13th St. near the King Center in northeast Gainesville. It is free and open to the public and those attending are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes for the contest.

"We want to provide a free program where families can be engaged doing activities together and taking back all different types of safety information," said Krista Gonzalez, risk reduction specialist at Gainesville Fire Rescue.

The first 100 children attending will receive a voucher for free ice cream during the event from Sweet Dreams Homemade Ice Cream.

Gonzalez said Gainesville Fire Rescue will be teaming up with the National Fire Protection Association during National Fire Prevention Week, which begins Monday through Oct. 13, to encourage residents to "Have Two Ways Out," this year's theme to focus on the importance of fire planning and practice.

Gonzalez said in 2010, U.S. fire departments responded to 369,500 home structure fires, which caused 13,350 civilian injuries, 2,640 civilian deaths and $6.9 billion in damage.

"One home structure fire was reported every 85 seconds in 2010," Gonzalez said. "Fire is unpredictable and moves faster than most people realize. Having a tried and true escape plan with two ways out is essential to ensuring your family's safety should a fire break out in your home."

Gonzalez said there is a rising trend in juveniles setting intentional fires that cause damage, injury and destruction. She said setting fires is a felony criminal offense and juveniles ages 14 and older can be tried as adults.

This year, Scream for Safety has been moved to an hour earlier to take advantage of daylight. Also new this year is the addition of a bounce house and a free photo booth by Bonnie Valenzuela Photography of Gainesville.

Gonzalez said parents will receive tons of safety information and information on community resources and the children will have a safe place to trick-or-treat at various informational booths, where they will receive candy and small toys.

After visiting each booth and getting a "passport" stamped, the children will be fitted for a free bicycle helmet by Dakova Batey, coordinator of bicycle and pedestrian safety at the city of Gainesville. For the costume contest, children will be grouped by age and adults will be able to participate, too. Prizes will be awarded.

Although the event is free, non-perishable food donations will be accepted for the Food4Kids Backpack Program, which provides food to Alachua County schoolchildren who are at risk of being hungry over the weekend.

Activities will include tours of an ambulance, an armored vehicle and a fire truck. Those attending also will be able to talk to firefighters and law enforcement officials. In addition, there will be information on Halloween safety, drug awareness, poison awareness, dealing with bullies, health information, children's car safety tip, and other information to help keep children and their families safe.

Gonzalez said Scream for Safety is a good way to get safety information out to the community and for children to see that firefighters and police officers are good people who are there to help them.

"It's so important to get safety information out to the community," she said.

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