Safety Town, a comprehensive safety education program sponsored by Conway Regional Health System, is underway this week with 90 volunteers and more than 110 preschoolers.

The program, housed in Woodland Heights Baptist Church in Conway, is designed to introduce 4- and 5-year-olds to the fundamentals of personal safety.

Classroom, role-playing and hands-on activities are geared to instill basic knowledge of emergency procedures. 

“We teach them that the police officers are their friends,” said Mattie Fulmer, mayor of Safety Town. “The Conway Fire Department teaches them about 9-1-1, and the stop, drop, and roll technique. We teach them to use seat belts. That’s their first lesson in the program. We also cover school bus safety, lessons on poison control and stranger awareness. We cover everything in the event that they haven’t been warned by their parents. We try to cover all the bases.”

The Junior Auxiliary of Conway is staffing the program, and many of its teen and pre-teen volunteers were once participants in Safety Town, Fulmer said.

“Safety Town could not come about without the arms and legs of the program,” said John Patton, marketing coordinator for CRMS. “Junior Auxiliary does the teaching and coordinating, and a majority of the volunteers are from them.”

The camp includes a miniature town with streets, stoplights, crosswalks and stores. Each child has the opportunity to participate in several simulated traffic exercises on the course.

“If we can help keep one of these kids from crossing the street in front of a moving car, or riding their bike into traffic, it is worth it,” Patton said. “We don’t want to see any of these kids in the ER. It is our responsibility as a good neighbor to do this, and as a corporate citizen.”
Patton said in Safety Town’s 14 years, about 1,800 children have gone through the safety program.

The weeklong camp costs $35 and affords each participant a bicycle safety helmet and T-shirt.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)