Children crawl, climb to safety wisdom

June 12, 1994|By JoAnne C. Broadwater | JoAnne C. Broadwater,Contributing Writer

Accidents were the talk of the day at Norrisville Elementary School last week, but it was in the name of safety.

Children crawled through a smoky room and climbed down a ladder to escape a simulated fire. They watched the rescue of a workman seemingly electrocuted on a utility pole. They took an imaginary hike through a forest filled with natural hazards.

These and other "dangers" encountered were aimed at teaching the children how to avoid them during a PTA-sponsored Safety Day at the northern Harford County school Tuesday.

"The way to prevention is through proper education," said Ruth Bertuzzi, a PTA member who helped organize the event. "I'm a registered nurse, and I sometimes see children after an accident . . that could have been prevented."

Area safety experts stressed prevention in a variety of demonstrations. Nancy Jahn, a registered nurse at the Harford Glen Environmental Education Center, told the children how to dress properly for a hike and how to identify poison ivy.

Norrisville contractors George Bertuzzi and Larry Thomas talked about proper precautions to take using tractors, push mowers ++ and gasoline-powered trimmers.

"I liked all the machines," said 7-year-old Theresa Dixon. "I learned that you should be safe around tractors."

Doug Revie, the father of two Norrisville students and a service operator for Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., emphasized electrical safety at home and the safeguards he takes when he climbs utility poles to make repairs.

"Today is important for safety and for learning how to prevent being hurt," said 11-year-old Kristina Herz.

"You need to learn about safety so that if something does happen you, know what to do," said fellow fifth-grader Marianne Hicks.

"I think there was a lot of awareness for the children," said teacher Janet King, whose students presented a safety play with another third-grade class.

"This might help them stop and think about various safety issues that surround them."

"I hope it will teach them to keep an eye out so they don't have accidents," said instructional assistant Robin Fletcher.

Bud Smith was among the students who practiced bicycle safety skills on an outdoor course set up by Maryland State Police Tfc. Jerry Skrzypiec.

There, the children learned how to maintain their bikes and ride them responsibly.

"I learned to always wear a helmet and to check the bike to see if the tires are low and to see if it's working right," said Bud, a second-grader.

Representatives of the Citizens Volunteer Fire Company in cooperation with the Baltimore County Fire Department, helped students identify fire hazards inside a fire safety house -- a three-room, child-size home on wheels. When the children reached the bedroom, it filled with nontoxic smoke and they practiced escaping through a window.

"Do not go back inside for your toys," warned Jeff Gengler, a firefighter for the state of Maryland, Air National Guard and the volunteer company. "If you have a fire and your toys are burned, I promise you your mom and dad will buy you new ones."

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