Safety Town is a child-sized realistic town with paved streets, working traffic lights and small buildings designed to teach kids about safety.
“This is the first year that this has come to this area,” said Terri Reed, the admissions director at Greenbriar Healthcare Center, which is hosting the event. “It's been done nationwide but I think the closest one was done in the Columbus-Worthington area.”
The community project is designed to teach 4- to 6-year-olds various safety issues such as stranger danger, personal safety, bicycle riding rules, traffic and pedestrian safety, poison prevention, what to do in an emergency/how to call 911, and being safe in the home, on the playground, in a car or a bus or in the pool.
“It will be very interactive, so the kids will take away a lot from this program,” Reed said.
Each day of the five-day training course will focus on a different safety topic and includes guest speakers, videos, singing, crafts and riding bicycles around the mini-city.
Mellisa Whamsley, administrator of Greenbriar Healthcare Center, said the facility hosts some type of safety event every year.
“This year, we had this option presented to us and we decided that was the one we were going to,” she said. “This age group is so impressionable and there aren't many programs targeted towards them.
“If we can prevent just one accident or injury because of this educational program, it will be well worth it,” Reed added. “Many of these kids aren't even in kindergarten yet so they haven't been exposed to anything like this.”
The goal of Safety Town is to reduce accidental injuries and deaths through education and to team ways to avoid danger as a positive step toward prevention.
The safety program will be Monday through Friday at Greenbriar Healthcare Center at 1242 Crescent Drive in Wheelersburg. Because of local contributions, the event is free, but class size is limited and preregistration is required. To preregister, call (740) 574-8441. The last chance to register is at 8:30 a.m. on Monday before the session begins.
There will be two sessions per day, one from 9 a.m. to noon, and the second session from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
On Friday, there will be a graduation ceremony, and family members are invited to see the kids receive course certificates.
Some of the speakers will include Smokey Bear, Sparky The Fire Dog, Scrubs the Health Hound and members of the Scioto County Sheriff's Office, Portsmouth Police Department, New Boston Police Department, Southern Ohio Medical Center, Porter Township Fire Department, American Electric Power, King's Daughters Medical Center, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Coast Guard, ABLE Ambulance, LIFE Ambulance, Portsmouth/Urgent Care Ambulance, Porter Township EMS and MTS Ambulance.
MARK SHAFFER can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235.