A fit straight from the experts

Helping fit helmets for students, CKFR Capt. David Stebor makes sure 8-year-old Jake Leonard’s helmet is on correctly. - Photo by Kassie Korich
Helping fit helmets for students, CKFR Capt. David Stebor makes sure 8-year-old Jake Leonard’s helmet is on correctly.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

With a gleam of excitement in her eyes, second-grader Renee Stinson waited patiently as Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue Capt. David Stebor ensured her new bicycle helmet fit properly.

A student at Silver Ridge Elementary School in Silverdale, Stinson and her 22 classmates were each fitted with a bicycle helmet on Wednesday by CKFR firefighters as part of Risk Watch — an injury prevention curriculum they’ve been learning in class for the past month.

“Most know what they need to do, but that doesn’t mean they will. Getting a brand new helmet will be reinforcement,” said Kim Peck, the students’ teacher, in between calling up who was next for fitting.

Helping Stebor fit helmets was CKFR public educator Theresa MacLennan, firefighter/EMT Adam Smith and firefighter/EMT Brad Shearer.

“This is fun ... We get to know the public,” said Shearer, referring to the advantages of having CKFR firefighters participate in the program. “It’s nice they know they can come up and talk to us.”

Peck agreed the firefighters’ participation is beneficial for the students.

“They’re very excited,” she said. “We’re very thankful they were able to do this for us.”

As part of Risk Watch, students are versed in everything from motor vehicle safety and fire and burn prevention to falling and poisoning prevention. Peck is one of three second-grade teachers at Silver Ridge who are teaching the program this quarter. Next up, just in time for summer, is water safety.

During the helmet fitting, CKFR staff reminded students of the the proper way to wear their helmets. While a handful brought their own helmets from home to be fitted, the majority recieved a shiny new one for a $7 donation which helps to restock CKFR’s supply.

Mikaela Rusnak, 8, was happy to get a new helmet and was surprised by how well it fit.

“I liked how they did it, it amazed me. I didn’t know they could do it that well,” she said smiling.

She quickly made a beeline to her backpack, gently placing the helmet inside and quickly zipping it back up.

Soon after being fitted with his helmet, Michael Sevilla, 8, already had plans of wearing his new one while riding his bike.

“When I first received it I felt happy because I have a new helmet,” he said. “I’m going to wear the new one.”

As an added incentive for local kids, CKFR is participating in the Safe Rider Citation program. Beginning mid-May, CKFR crews — not on their way to an emergency — will be on the lookout to reward kids who are wearing a helmet while biking, skating, scootering or skateboarding. When they spot a child wearing a helmet correctly, they will present the child with a Safe Rider Citation. It not only commends the child for healthy, safe behavior, but also entitles the child for a free deli round sandwich at local participating Subway shops, according to CKFR.

Co-sponsored by Subway, Pierce County Safe Kids and Kitsap Safe Kids Coalition, the Subway coupons are valid through December.

Additional helmet fittings, which are open to the general public, will be available at Kids Day from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 10 at the Presidents’ Hall at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds. Mary Bridge Children Health also provides helmet fittings. For more information call (360) 662-1200. Parents also can call CKFR for an appointment for an individual fitting at (360) 447-3550.

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