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Fire district distributes bike helmets

By Staff | May 20, 2020

Christy Kulwicki, fire inspector and public education director for the North Fort Myers Fire District, hands a bike helmet to Albert Hess during the helmet giveaway Tuesday at the No. 1 Station on Trail Dairy Road. CHUCK BALLARO

Hundreds of bike riders are safer today, thanks to the North Fort Myers Fire District.

Each year, the district distributes roughly 300 Florida Department of Transportation provided bicycle helmets to riders of all ages.

Most are children at elementary schools who get the safety device during gym class or at summer camp.

This year was a little different.

With schools out early, camps not yet open and social distancing in effect, the district handed out 100 during a two-day giveaway last week at two of the NFMFD stations

“Everything has been easy going. We’re making sure we’re maintaining social distancing and using masks and gloves,” said Christy Kulwicki, fire inspector and public education director.

People drove up to the station on Trail Dairy Road on Tuesday for the morning giveaway, which more than 50 people took advantage of, pandemic or not.

Those wishing to receive a helmet called or e-mailed for an appointment. At the appointed time, Kulwicki would hand over the helmet with the fire department logo, along with a fitting guide and a comic book for the kids, all the while doing her best to follow social distancing; nobody had to get out of their car.

Appointments were limited to three every 15-minute section, and this go-around, more helmets were given to adults for adult use more than for kids, though parents and grandparents came and got them for the kids, too.

Albert Hess was getting a helmet for himself as well as his granddaughter. He said he was happy he got to know about the event in advance.

“I do a fair amount of riding. We put our granddaughter in the three-wheeler, but it’s always a safety thing for her because it’s the law,” Hess said. “It’s very nice for the fire department to have something like this for the kids.”

For those who couldn’t make a morning session, a Thursday afternoon session was held at the No. 2 station on Barrett Road.

Kulwicki said she was happy to give the helmets out, since many people are starting to venture outside a little bit as county parks are starting to open up more.

“We couldn’t ask for a better turnout. It wasn’t overwhelming, but I feel we’re making a difference in the community,” Kulwicki said. “We’re glad the program is being utilized since we’re outside and they’re being more active. We want to be sure people are staying safe.”

The helmets usually go in a matter of weeks which is why the NFMFD gets a new delivery of 300 every year.