Kids get lessons in safety with program

“Watch the light, watch the light, red means stop.”

Though school was out for summer, one particular class was still in session at G.T. Norman Elementary in Reed City. Thirty-three children, ages 4-6, attended the Safety Town program everyday for two weeks.

Instructors Kylene Nix and Stacy Gilland touched on a variety of safety issues that children encounter. Pedestrian and bike safety rules were practiced everyday in the gym which was set up to look like a real town.

Complete with a working stoplight, they were able to learn the rules of using a crosswalk and looking both ways to avoid getting hit by vehicles. Topics discussed in the classroom included safety rules in regards to guns, poisons, playgrounds, strangers, water, and fire. Student volunteers spent individual time with each child helping them memorize their phone number and address.

Special guest speakers came in to talk to the class as well. Reed City firefighters Gary Montague and Ross Momany brought in firefighter gear and reviewed many fire safety issues. It was a great way for the class to get up close and hear what a firefighter sounds like under full gear. “ He’s like an alien,” many little ones commented.

Those fears were eased as they were able to touch parts of the uniform and try on the helmet.

Montague was once a student in Safety Town and later a teen volunteer for the program.

“It brings back memories. It’s nice to be back helping.”

Climbing up in the firetruck, though, was the biggest excitement of that day.

Parents joined in the fun on graduation day, listening to the class sing safety songs and watching them in the miniature town. It was clear the children remembered many of the rules when they were drilled with various situations and had the correct responses.

“Hopefully everything they learned during the class will help them to be safer and they can also spread that knowledge to keep their friends safe.” Nix adds during graduation. After the town buildings are taken down and the bikes are put away, the graduates of Safety Town will continue reciting what they learned because it was presented in such a fun way.

“My son keeps a close eye on the stoplights now when we are driving and definitely reminds me of the rules around the house!” one parent chuckled.

A special thanks to everyone who continue to make this program possible; instructors, volunteers, special guests, and local business sponsors.