Safety Preparedness Fair brings together state and local service agencies in Pratt.

A local emergency planning committee put their heads together last year with the goal to share useful information and showcase Pratt County services. Those goals were met Saturday in Pratt as more than 300 people perused safety booths and visited with emergency professionals at the first Pratt County Preparedness Fair, held at the Pratt National Guard Armory.
“We really didn’t know what to expect, 10 or 1,000 people,” said Pratt Emergency Manager Tim Branscom. “We started out with a few groups who were willing to present, and then that snowballed to 32 entities involved. It was an amazing collection of safety information all in one place.”
For Pratt resident Rayanna Brown who brought her youngsters, Colten Thorburg and Jourdan Cisnros, to the event, the electrical charge demonstrations on the west side of the armory building were fascinating.
“We learned how far out electrical charges can go, how dangerous kites and trees limbs in overhead wires can be and how to bunny hop away from a dangerous area,” Brown said. “I wish my older children could have been here because this is stuff everyone needs to know and you just don’t hear it every day.”
Southern Pioneer Electric Company presented a demonstration with a stuffed figure that was zapped by electrical current, frying the orange attached to his front side.
Southern Pioneer serves  17,200 consumers and operates in nine counties and 34 communities with a service territory that stretches east from Liberal to Medicine Lodge and north to Pratt and back west to Greensburg, Kansas.
Kansas Wildlife and Parks Game Wardens Kevin Wood of St. John and Daniel Haneke of Hodgeman, also cover a wide territory while monitoring outdoors activities such as turkey hunting, fishing and boating. They visited with many interested patrons at the preparedness fair about hunting safety classes and other issues pertaining to wildlife law enforcement in Kansas.
In addition to safety information, Wood and Haneke also shared about job opportunities in their field of work with wildlife and parks services, with openings for law officers, fish surveyors, game wardens and park caretakers.
“This is a great career,” Wood said. “I never get bored because every day I am doing something different, but it’s all part of what I enjoy, wildlife, nature, hunting, the outdoors.”
Pratt residents Fred and Christine Mattal, like many others, spent time at the KDWPT table swapping hunting stories and sharing outdoor experiences.
Many Pratt entities shared safety and health information at the fair as well, like Pratt Environmental Services, Pratt Regional Medical Center, the Hope Center and Superior Fire Equipment, which handed out flame-shaped stress relievers.
Outside the armory, Pratt Emergency Services had a car-wreck simulation. Fire trucks, ambulances, and much more lined the streets around the armory, giving visitors a close-up look at what is available to those in need, when needed in Pratt County.
From grain dust bin explosions demonstrated by Kansas Division of Safety and Health to a special  preparedness dog named Fred, who advocated family safety kits (along with Michael McNulty, Deputy Director of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment), there was something for all ages of interest.
“This was just a good way to let people know what is all available around here,” Branscom said. “We will be meeting again soon to likely plan a similar event for next year.”