Little ones learn safety skills at ‘Safety Town’

Officer instructing kids at Safety Town

About 325 children learned new street smarts this week as Safety Town returned to Hilliard.

Safety Town is a one-week course that focuses on teaching children safe practices both at school and at home. The curriculum includes bicycle safety, pedestrian safety, school bus safety, fire safety, seat belt safety, gun safety, 911 and stranger danger.

The popular program uses a realistic, child-sized town designed to provide a complete hands-on safety education for children. Miniature buildings, cross walks and traffic provided by the children on tricycles help to give the participants the experience they need before they take their final walk on a real street with real traffic and signals escorted by Hilliard police officers

New buildings and trikes were introduced to the program this year, thanks to generous sponsorships from the Hilliard Rotary Club and BMW.

Safety Town is presented by the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department, with assistance from the Hilliard Division of Police, Norwich Township Fire Department and Hilliard City School District. The program, open to children entering kindergarten in the fall, has been in existence for more than 25 years.

On Monday, children were welcomed into Safety Town and received their bicycle helmets, which they used the entire week and could keep. Students also learned about poison safety from Spike’s Poison Prevention Adventure, and Hilliard police presented an energetic activity about personal safety called “Retro Bill.”

On Tuesday, children wore red and focused on fire safety. Norwich Township firefighters led tours of emergency vehicles, and children learned to crawl through a safety house as they practiced “Stop, Drop and Roll!” The entire building conducted a fire drill.

On Wednesday, children wore blue as they learned about the jobs of Hilliard police officers, including tours of a police cruiser, opportunities to try on police equipment and uniforms, and a demonstration of a police motorcycle. Children met one of the agency’s K9s and discussed bicycle safety with a member of the agency’s bike patrol.

On Thursday, children learned about personal safety and half the classes took their skills to the streets with a Safety Walk, escorted by police officers. They were also introduced to “Eddie Eagle,” who taught children what to do if they find a gun. They also learned about natural gas with “Digger the Dog.” Dispatchers from the Northwest Regional Emergency Communications Center talked with students about calling 911.

On Friday, the final day of Safety Town, children learned about bus safety with “Buster.” They also learned about water safety. Additionally, the other classes went on a Safety Walk. The week wrapped up with a graduation ceremony attended by local dignitaries.

Registration for 2020’s Safety Town will open this winter.

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