Older elementary school kids are at the age where they still have a lot to learn about safety and are willing to learn, according to a Blaine Police Department crime prevention specialist.
Blaine Safety Services and the Blaine Parks and Recreation Department gave over 150 kids going into fourth grade the chance to learn valuable safety tips at Blaine Safety Camp July 9-10.
For two days, the students learned about the dangers of bullying both at school and on the Internet, household chemicals, head injuries from falling off a bike, drugs, electricity, fire and water.
There were times for the kids to unwind whether it was getting soaked by a fire hose, going for a swim at the Roosevelt Community Pool, having an ice cream social, or looking at emergency responder vehicles.
Andrea Hunt, one of two crime prevention specialists for the Blaine Police Department, said her favorite part of the camp is at the end when the kids see all their camp counselors in their police, firefighter, paramedic or park and recreation outfits in which they work. Some students have no idea that their counselors are men and women who work in these uniforms because everyone is wearing Safety Camp shirts for two days.
“At this age, third graders still fear people in uniform,” Hunt said. “A big piece of this camp is we show them we’re people, too. We have families. We don’t live in the fire station or sleep at the police department.”
Besides getting to know the adults in their communities who protect them, the camp showed these young children that there are a lot of things that humans have created to make their lives easier or more enjoyable, but it can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing.
Without electricity, they could not watch their favorite television shows. A couple of Connexus Energy employees made them aware that frayed wires should be thrown away and downed power lines should be avoided.
“If a line is lying down, don’t hang around,” is a useful catch phrase pertaining to downed power lines.
Parents could not clean the house or do the laundry without a number of chemicals. These poisons add another hazard to the household though.
Going for a swim or being on a boat is great fun, but the campers were reminded about wearing life jackets and taught how to rescue someone who is drowning.
An animated Garret Parten, chief operations officer with the Spring Lake Park-Blaine-Mounds View Fire Department, admitted he was scared of the boogeyman when he was in elementary school, but said they should not be afraid to close their bedroom door because this can slow down a fire coming from the hallway.
Smoke detectors need a battery back-up and should be checked and family escape plan is a necessity, Parten said.
Jody Schwab, a fifth-grade teacher at Johnsville Elementary School in Blaine, said cyber bullying, social networking sites and chatrooms, and online predators are topics these kids probably will not have to deal with until middle school or high school, but these issues are right around the corner for them and some will face it earlier than others if they have older siblings or parents they see go on social networking sites.
Many of the kids of this age do not comprehend how so many people can see something they post on the Internet, she said.
“It’s a tough age. I hope they’re not on it, but I know they’re starting to be exposed to it, so we want to give them information ahead of time,” Schwab said.
Eric Hagen is at