Kids visit Champion Safety Town

CHAMPION — Boys and girls entering kindergarten in the fall are prepared to deal with safety issues as they spent one week learning about being safe at home, at school and on a bus during the annual Safety Town.

The Safety Town is an annual program i n its third year instituted by the Champion Rotary and Champion High School Interact Club that brings police officers and firefighters to the program to help teach children how to be safe.

Champion Rotary Club past president Babette Sisler said the event helps prepare the children for what they may need to know as a kindergarten student.

Forty-seven students participated in this year’s program.

An example was children at a bus stop may be approached by a strange dog and must learn to not back up into a street.

”We want to prepare them if they see a dog and are afraid. They need to know not to back into traffic,” Sisler said.

She said a representative of the Animal Welfare League spoke to children about strange animals they may encounter or to not be afraid if a service animal is in school. Children also learned about recycling and how not to pick up a sharp piece of glass.

“We make all the safety lessons relate to what a kindergarten student may face,” Sisler said.

Children also learned to stop, drop and roll if there is smoke in a home and how to get out of the room.

Sisler said firefighters put on their suits and masks to show children what they would look like and sound like when battling a fire.

”We want children not to be afraid of firefighters when they may be in a suit and sound like Darth Vader. They are there to help rescue them,” she said.

Children also learned about ”stranger danger,” keeping seatbelts on in cars, being safe on the playground and school bus, and learning directions.

Current and former Champion Interact Club members helped at the event by serving as mentors and earning community service hours.

“The lesson really sinks in hearing it from the older students, “Sisler said.

One student did a lesson on the importance of handwashing, which is a skill children need to learn.

Lily Brown, 5, said she liked learning to wash her hands and how to get out of a house if there is smoke.

Katelyn Hickox, a sophomore at Champion High School, said “The children look to up to us. They don’t know how to do many things because they are so little.”

Sisler said the program allows high school students to give back to the community and be mentor leaders.

She said this is the last year the program will be at Central Elementary, since it will be closed as a new school opens in summer 2018. Safety Town next year will be at the high school.