A record-breaking 525 children learned new street smarts this month 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, water safety, and how to call 911.
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 and Norwich Township firefighters.
This year, the program was offered for two consecutive weeks to ensure children who missed out due to COVID in 2020 had the opportunity to participate. A virtual Safety Town option was also offered.
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 practiced “Stop, Drop and Roll!” The entire building conducted a fire drill. Once outside, children were treated to a demonstration of a ladder truck spraying water.
On Wednesday, children wore blue as they learned about the jobs of Hilliard police officers, including tours of a police cruiser, opportunities to learn about 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 classes took their skills to the streets with a Safety Walk, escorted by police officers and firefighters. 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 and took one final ride through Safety Town. The week wrapped up with a graduation ceremony in classrooms.
Registration for 2022’s Safety Town will open this winter.
Sponsors for the program are BMW, Kemba Financial Credit Union and State Farm Insurance. The Hilliard Rotary Club donated new Safety Town buildings in 2019. Helmets are provided in part by the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics through the Put A Lid On It Bike Helmet Safety Awareness program.
Other Safety Town contributors are Capital City Lodge #9, NTFD Local 1723, Columbia Gas, Grandad’s Pizza, Jersey Mike’s, Holowicki Enterprises, JD Equipment, Laserflez, NRA, Norwich Elementary School staff, Scioto Valley, Tim Horton’s and Tutor Doctor.