Katy Safety Fest goes virtual

Katy Safety Fest goes virtual Main Photo

25 Sep 2020

By: Claire Goodman - Houston Chronicle 

Each year, Harris County Emergency Services District 48 hosts Safety Fest, a fun, free and educational event geared towards educating the community on issues like workplace safety, pet safety, drowning prevention and safety in and around the home.

This year’s Safety Fest will be held virtually from Oct. 19 through Oct. 24 in order to accommodate social-distancing protocols while still bringing vital information to the public. The event is a joint effort between HCESD 48, local law enforcement agencies, fire departments, area nonprofits and other safety-oriented organizations.

The event will also offer in-person promotions like a flu vaccination clinic, pet microchip drive, prescription medication disposal event and drive-through trick-or-treating at participating fire stations.

While Safety Fest is usually a one-day event, organizers chose to spread the information out across six days to make the videos easier to view. The videos will be posted on Facebook and YouTube.

In past years, more than 2,500 people have attended Safety Fest. While virtual numbers will be smaller, organizers hope that the videos will still reach hundreds of viewers.

“We’re working with all the other departments that are normally participating in Safety Fest, but they're doing their own safety videos- something different from each department,” explained Jason Tharp, division chief of community risk reduction. “That way, people aren’t watching the same thing every day.”

Tharp noted that his team of organizers has been brainstorming ways to make the online event more fun for audiences. “Some of the (organizers) are getting really creative with Tik Tok and making funny videos,” he said. “We want people to be engaged, so everything is going to have an entertaining element to it as well as informational.”

In-person events are open to the public and free to attend. The flu vaccine clinic and pet microchip drive are limited, and pre-registration is required. More information about these events will be available on the Safety Fest website and social media feeds as it becomes available.

“With the large number of first responder agencies participating this year, as well as several nonprofit organizations, the information shared will be invaluable,” said Safety Fest president Joseph Casciotti, battalion chief of community medicine for HCESD 48. “In today’s world, having the right information to stay safe is crucial. We’re working hard to make sure the 2020 Katy Area Safety Fest is just as effective as a virtual event as it would be as a live one.”

For more information about the Katy Area Safety Fest, visit https://katyareasafetyfest.org.