Following the tornado this spring, Safety Town added severe weather safety to its education of preschoolers.
This week almost 120 children attended the annual event hosted by Junior Auxiliary of Conway and Conway Regional Medical Center to promote safety awareness among pre-K students. Held at Woodland Heights Baptist Church, in its 18th year, the program ran for three days packed with information on everything from railroad safety to watching out for household poisons.
Kristie Edwards, the mayor of Safety Town this year, said, "Our motto is it’s all about that one child. If we can keep one child from running out in the street, get one child out of a burning house, save one child from a bad weather event, we’ve done our job."
On Wednesday, the first day of Safety Town, children met firefighters and learned about what to do in the event of a fire.
Mattie Fulmer, a teacher at Safety Town who has served two terms as mayor in the past, said, "The fire department does a couple of lessons. They teach them about smoke alarms, dialing 911, finding a meeting place to meet your family if your house is on fire. They talk about what happens when you dial 911."
Wednesday’s events also covered dog safety. Mike LaBombard and his wife, Lila, brought Scratch, a therapy dog, to assist in the day’s education.
Edwards said, "They learn about how to approach a dog and how not to approach a dog. They learn how to correctly groom a dog."
Children also take turns riding tricycles through a miniature town, learning to stop at stop signs, put on their seat belts and obey other traffic laws.
"We’re teaching the kids no texting and driving for when they get in the car with (adults)," Edwards said. "We’re trying to stay current with what’s happening now, because it’s going to change by the time they’re out there on the streets."
New this year is a segment on severe weather safety. Edwards said each child will receive a bicycle helmet when they graduate from Safety Town, and they will be taught to put on their helmet when they take cover during a severe weather event.
Michael Hook, a storm chaser, provides severe weather information to local television stations and the National Weather Service. He was scheduled to talk to the kids at Safety Town about tornado safety and lightning safety.
"The National Weather Service has tools geared toward kindergarten age," he said. "We use the theme, ‘When thunder roars, go indoors.’"
It takes more than 50 volunteers to put on Safety Town, 20 of whom are teens, Edwards said.
"They’re very helpful, and it reminds them to be safe, just like it reminds all of us."
(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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)