An annual cooperative effort between local authorities, businesses and the fire department brings valuable safety lessons to area children.
The 12th annual Safety Day, which was held this week at the Wapakoneta Family YMCA, calls on the expertise of safety-service professionals from the Wapakoneta Fire Department, the Auglaize County DARE program, Wapakoneta Police Department and Auglaize County Sheriff’s Office to help lead different programs for the school-aged children.
“We are teaching them general safety,” Wapakoneta firefighter Doug Kill said. “Safety is nothing more than being aware of time, place and the conditions around you.”
Kill explained it is important to be aware of surroundings, which is something they stressed to the students.
“Most accidents are a lack of experience,” Kill said.
At the three-day camp, students in grades third through sixth spent two days learning about safety, and grades preschool to second grade spent one day learning about safety.
“At this age, it gives kids a brief introduction to safety, and we hope in years to come, when they become young adults, that this stuff will come back to them,” Kill said.
Electrical, boating, swimming and seat belt safety were a few programs the students learned about during their time at the camp. Representatives from Midwest Electric, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the YMCA and the Wapakoneta Police Department came in and provided these programs for the children.
In addition, local law enforcement officers came in and demonstrated gun safety and what to do when a stranger approaches.
Seven-year-old Landon Brandt said he learned many new things on Thursday at the safety camp.
“I’ve learned that whenever there is a fire, to crawl under it and if there is a gun lying around, don’t touch it and go tell your parents,” Brandt said.
He also said that in a case where a stranger approaches, to not talk to the stranger.
When seven-year-old Kaylee Marietti was asked what she learned, she instantly responded.
“Don’t play with matches,” Marietti said, “and that you don’t listen to someone that you don’t know.”
Marietti’s favorite part of Safety Camp was the chance to play games, including relay races.
Alena Hoelscher, 7, said that she enjoyed listening to the firefighters and police officers talk about safety because they taught her a lot.
“I learned that matches are bad,” Hoelscher said, “and strangers are bad.”
Hoelscher’s favorite part of the day was seeing the fire truck and learning about fire safety.
The Wapakoneta Fire Department brought a aerial tower truck and ambulance out to the YMCA and demonstrated how the hoses worked, by using two camp counselors and Auglaize County DARE Deputy Sam Blank, and raising them up in the aerial tower in the fire truck and having them spray an open field with the hose.
Blank also presented a DARE program to the students .
“We cover as many safety aspects as we can,” Blank said. “We keep it exciting for the kids.”
One way that the kids were able to learn was by engaging them in activities that were used to be fun and to help teach about safety.
“I hope that they take a couple things from this that they can share with their families,” Blank said.