Editor’s note: Gimme 5 is a five-question interview about a topic of local interest. 

Who: Chad Duerkop, program and facility supervisor for the Eau Claire Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department.

Talks about: Pinehurst Winter Safety Day 2018.

When: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Where: Pinehurst Park, 3523 Delbert Road.

More information: 715-839-5032.

What does Pinehurst Winter Safety Day entail?

It’s a couple hour event that happens at Pinehurst Park where we try to push winter sports safety and hill safety, things like that. 

It’s put on by us, Eau Claire Fire & Rescue and Mayo Clinic Health System. It’s basically a day of safety messages, free cocoa and free hot dogs and there’s ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing and other activities. 

Eau Claire Fire & Rescue will have an ambulance and a firetruck there. We also have staff facilitating some skating games and things like that as well.

How have previous Winter Safety Days been received?

I believe this is our third or fourth one, and they’ve been received pretty well. The people who are there enjoy it and have fun. 

What is the goal of this event and the reason for holding it at Pinehurst Park?

The focus is on winter sport safety, but we’re really going to promote helmet usage. People put a helmet on when they ride a bike now, and we want people to do the same thing when sledding. When people go out sledding at Pinehurst hill, we highly encourage them to wear helmets. If you don’t have one, we have them there to check out. 

This is especially important at Pinehurst because it is a steep hill. If you go up to the top of that hill, you’re going down pretty fast. Sledding is an inherently dangerous activity. You can get hurt. 

We try to make it as safe as we possibly can, but the bottom line is you’re at your own risk and there are things you can do to make it safer.

What is your target audience and how many people do you expect to show up?

It’s for anybody, but families are our target audience. 

We want to get that message out to parents and kids and get parents to encourage that message to their kids when sledding on the hill. 

As far as attendance, it all depends on the weather. 

We should have snow, and if it can be around 20 degrees or a little warmer, I would expect 200 to 300 people to show up. Maybe a couple dozen if it’s really cold.

What are some of the most important winter safety pointers you want people to be aware of?

Wear a helmet when sledding, skiing and snowboarding. 

We also try to promote usage of the hill in a safe manner such as not going up the middle of the hill. Don’t be walking in front of sledders going down. 

There have been accidents out there, and we just want to minimize people being taken out of there in an ambulance. There are steps that everybody can take to help that.

— Eric Lindquist,reporter