Jason Abisch

Equinox Staff


Safety in a community is something that everyone strives for in order to live in a secure environment, whether it is in regards to food, fire, or personal safety, such as violence prevention.

On Saturday, Oct. 1, 2011, the Home Depot of Keene hosted its third annual Safety Day in conjunction with fire safety month.

This event was a collaboration between Travis Brennar, a student majoring in safety and occupational health applied sciences, who is also the president of the Student Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE), and Operations Assistant Manager at Home Depot, Colleen G. Brown.

Brown and Brennar began collaborating for this event in early June to bring awareness to the community and connect with residents to ensure a safe place, especially for growing families with children.

“The Home Depot strives to create an emotional connection with the community through safety awareness and prevention,” Brown said.

In the future, Brown hopes to see people of all ages make smarter and safer decisions, and to see more positive feedback about the community, not only in the media, but by word of mouth from community members and out-of-state visitors as well.

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“I foresee the fourth annual Safety Day to be even bigger,” Brown said.

While other groups participated, Home Depot took the lead and coordinated the event.

Home Depot is generally known as a company that sells materials for everyday household improvement.

Many people may not realize that Home Depot offers significantly more than that. The company deems its core value of giving back to the community by offering grants of up to $5,000 and partnering with Habitat for Humanity.

The Home Depot’s corporate website states, “An important part of the fabric of the Home Depot is giving our time, talents, energy and resources to worthwhile causes in our communities and society.”

Along with Brown and Brennar, Aaron Eames helped coordinate this safety event.

He said one of the key areas of focus was safety in the work place. His main goal was to obtain as many volunteers as possible to participate in the event.

He also wanted to ensure safety for all and make people aware of the dangers they may face.

Eames has had previous experience in educating others in the work community.

Before helping out with the Home Depot Safety Day event, he took part in the Heart Safe Project, which is aimed at working with companies in the Keene area to increase certifications for CPR and AED safety.

Although this was the first time Eames has attended this particular event, he and Home Depot shared a mutual interest of improving how active safety is important in all aspects of life.

Eames was able to round up ten volunteers  consisting of safety majors from KSC, to help with tables, and was able to learn something new in the process. Many of these activities that students oversaw were geared towards children in order to make learning about safety fun and easy to understand.

Among the volunteers were seniors Matt Hitchcock and Jeffrey Pelkey who supervised drawing activities for kids, and seniors Nicole McAllister and Chelsea Regan who supervised building fire rescue helicopters.

As safety majors, these students obtain a variety of skill sets which include the desire to help others, organizational skills, and working with people.

KSC’s website for the Office of Academic and Career Advising stated, “This major prepares students for a variety of occupational safety and health program management positions in the private and public sector.” Along with student volunteers, a variety of groups from around the Monadnock region joined in the efforts with Brennar and Brown to make people aware of the importance of safety in the community.

Each of the groups presented different activities and provided information that coincided with their specific areas of focus for those in attendance to learn about different areas of safety.

One group that focused specifically on personal safety was the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention (MCVP).

Kasey Laflam, the education and community outreach coordinator, was there to represent the group, hand out different informational pamphlets, and talk to people as they passed through.

Laflam’s goals for attending the fair were to make people aware of her organization and make known that MCVP’s services are all free to residents in the Monadnock region.

She said services include safety planning, prevention education, intervention, and for the younger generations, sexual harassment prevention.

Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention and Refuse To Be a Victim were also present at Safety Day.

Mary Fish, certified instructor at Refuse To Be a Victim, was at Safety Day to educate Keene residents about a variety of topics including home safety, personal security and personal protection devices.

Fish had never attended the event before and was mainly getting her organization’s name out and attempting to make people understand the value of safety and the fact that it is a personal responsibility.

This Safety Day is part of a broader initiative to create a stronger partnership within the Keene community.

The Home Depot, Keene State College faculty and students, along with the collaboration of many groups scattered throughout the Monadnock Region, successfully achieved the main goal of the safety event.

All groups effectively worked together to strengthen working relationships and got the community involved in an education program.


Jason Abisch can be contacted at jabisch@ksc.mailcruiser.com

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