A day of safety awareness activities for kids

A Coon Rapids Cub Scout pack and Allina Health EMS hosted a safety awareness day at the Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park Saturday.

Kids taking part in the safety awareness day at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park Saturday had the opportunity to try out dry-land water rescue with members of the Coon Rapids Fire Department.

Kids taking part in the safety awareness day at Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park Saturday had the opportunity to try out dry-land water rescue with members of the Coon Rapids Fire Department.

This was the second year that Cub Scout Pack 419 had put on an event focusing on safety for children at the regional park.

Last year the emphasis was on bike safety; this year the event covered a wide spectrum of kids’ safety, according to Matthew Johnson, Pack 419 cubmaster, who is also a paramedic with Allina Health EMS, formerly Allina Medical Transportation.

Weather impacted the day-long event as it did in 2011 when temperatures topped 100 degree.

Saturday began with thunderstorms which prevented some groups that had planned to attend from showing up, Johnson said.

“But it was a good day for kids to learn about safety,” he said.

There were eight stations set up for children to visit.

“They got to interact and participate in a safety discussion geared toward making all of the kids safer,” Johnson said.

The morning storms prevented the Coon Rapids Fire Department from demonstrating water rescues in the Mississippi River, but firefighters engaged kids in a dry-land water safety presentation.

Coon Rapids Police Officer Paul Frakie spoke about both stranger danger and Internet safety.

A Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) search and rescue team showed off one of its dogs and demonstrated how the dog would find a lost person with kids volunteering to be “lost,” according to Johnson.

Kids also got to see the dangers of electricity. “Connexus Energy fried up hot dogs with high voltage electricity and taught kids never to play with power lines,” Johnson said.

Representatives from the Minnesota Brain Injury Association presented a concussion awareness talk, demonstrating the impact that a concussion can have by having volunteers, both kids and adults alike, put a marshmallow in their mouths and pass on a message from one to another to see if the message was the same when the end of the line was reached.

It wasn’t, which brain injury association representatives said showed the difficulty people with a concussion can have both communicating and understanding what is being said to them.

In addition, the members of the brain injury association partnered with Mercy and Unity hospitals for a presentation on sports injuries and had the kids run an impaired obstacle course, Johnson said.

As well, paramedics from Allina Health EMS talked to kids about first aid, how to call 911 and what information they needed to have when they called, he said.

The Allina Medical Transportation bike team was out and about in the park talking to kids about helmet and bike safety, while providing bike safety tips.

In addition, Rick Crook, an Allina paramedic, who Johnson described as a “wilderness guru” and who has taken many trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA) in northern Minnesota, gave kids wilderness survival tips.

And just for fun and to cool off, a dunk tank was on hand where volunteers could get dunked in what was described as “very cold water.”

All the kids went home with some giveaway backpacks filled with safety oriented information, refreshments and food were served and a live band played.

According to Johnson, Cub Scout Pack 419 received a lot of financial help to make the safety awareness day a reality.

The Allina Foundation donated $1,000, the Coon Rapids Lions Club $500 and another $300 in contributions and sponsorships were received from other businesses and organizations, Johnson said.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]

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