SPRINGFIELD TWP. The kindergarteners at Spring Hill and Young Elementary Schools were recent graduates of the third SafetyTown held by the Springfield Police Department and many volunteers.
From Aug. 7-9,. 7, more than 30 kids attended Safety Town to learn about safety at home, school and play. It was a time of learning and excitement.
There were many exciting things going on for the children, who were also learning about how to be safe. Among the things they did were riding bikes and Little Tykes coupes on the road mat lined with the mini buildings that are familiar for the township and village such as a police department, fire department, Sherwin Williams, a school and many others. They were learning traffic laws, courtesy to others and safety on streets and sidewalks. Each child received a bike helmet to take home and a T-shirt.
The students were given a bus ride to Spring Hill and Young to get them prepared for school. While in route and when arriving, they learned the ins and outs of bus safety, crossing the railroad tracks, getting on and off the bus safely and more.
Springfield Police Sgt. Joe Gaffney clued the kids in on the SWAT vehicle. He has been a Springfield officer for 20 years and a member of SWAT for 15 years. He had the classes all load in the back of the vehicle and explained that is is bullet proof and what it is used for. Gaffney said usually they can only get seven or eight guys in the back, but they could really squeeze in a big group of kindergarteners.
Jason Main from Akron Coach has been at Safety Town each of the three years and brings a big tow truck, giving each of the kids a chance to pull the levers and move the bed of the truck. He talks to them about what the trucks are needed for and what they do.
Scott Moss from the Summa Protective Services/Police Department brought backpacks with crayons and coloring books for the safety kids. He asked each child what their high and low were for the day and received answers such as not liking to waking up early, not liking eggs for the lows and being excited to be at Safety Town for the highs.
The Springfield and Lakemore fire departments were on hand to teach about fire safety. The fire trucks were a big hit with the kids.
Dan Rafferty from the Springfield Police Department said the students had many things to learn about crossing the street, what the safety forces do in the community, the do's and don'ts of riding a school bus, bike safety, gun safety and much more.
Alongside the police cars from Springfield, Summa, the SWAT vehicle, Andy Masiella from the Ohio Highway State Patrol (OHSP) was on hand to show a patrol car and talk about what OHSP is responsible for Ohio’s state highways.
Kate Thurston, helping to coordinate the event, said the kids had plenty of things to keep them busy, going from one class to the next and in the down time they loved riding on the street mat and learning the rules of the road.
It takes many volunteers and community resource people from the community to make the learning of good safety habits possible.
It was evident that the kids were having a great time but, with the smiles on the faces of the volunteer adults, maybe they were enjoying it just as much.