Parents, children learn about safety, fitness

5/6/2013

Parents, children learn about safety, fitness

Parents, children learn about safety, fitness

By ANGIE HAFLICH

ahaflich@gctelegram.com

It was all about safety and fitness Saturday as kids took to their bikes in the parking lot of the Finney County Fairgrounds, where they also got the chance to rub elbows with their local heroes — police, firefighters and paramedics.

As part of promoting safety, the Garden City Recreation Commission handed out about 100 free bicycle helmets, as GCRC staff members showed the children and their parents how the helmets should fit.

Five-year-old Ava Galvan, decked out in a pink shirt, pink Barbie kneepads and riding her pink bike, couldn't contain her excitement over getting a matching helmet.

"I got pink. I'm all pink," Ava said.

Once she was fitted with her helmet, Ava took a turn following one of the bicycle police officers through the bike rodeo and obstacle course.

"Follow the person in front of you. Pay attention alright? Do you know what we're doing? It's like follow the leader. I'll be the leader," GCPD Master Patrol Officer Addison Morgan told a convoy of kids as he led them through the course. "We're teaching them how to ride cautiously and how to follow directions. Kind of similar to like how you would follow street signs and what not."

The children also got to see a fire truck and learned what to do in the event of a house fire.

Garden City firefighters John Irsik and Josh Woolsey, with the use of a makeshift house, taught the children what to do if they ever encountered a fire in their own homes.

"If there's smoke or fire in your house and you guys see it, smoke detectors are going off, what's the very first thing you do?" Woolsey asked a group of boys.

Most answered by saying, "Get outside."

"Absolutely," Woolsey said. "Do we stay inside and call 911 first?"

Lynwood Rohrbough, 11, responded by saying, "That's dangerous."

Woolsey told the children they should first get out of the house and then call 911 from a neighbor's or friend's phone.

"If there's no way to get out, should you hide from us? Should you hide from a fire? There's no way to hide from fire — impossible," Woolsey said. "When firefighters get there, we're going to be loud and yell for you, and we need you to yell back and bang on things so we can find you. Because like firefighter John said, firefighters are not good at hide and seek."

When Woolsey asked Lynwood what to do if he ever found a lighter or matches, he first said that he would give it to his parents, but then shared his own way of dealing with lighters.

"I take a hammer and make them blow up," Lynwood said.

When Woolsey shook his head and told him not to do that, Lynwood said, "I'm going to break that habit."

Woolsey also showed the children how to check a door to see if it's hot.

"We go from the bottom up because its going to be coolest at the bottom, and then we'll go up, and if it gets hotter and hotter and hotter and really hot, do we open it? No," Woolsey said.

Using artificial smoke, he then showed the children how to crawl, explaining that being as close to the floor as possible is best, since heat and smoke rise.

The children also were given items to encourage fitness.

"Not only are we stressing safe kids, but we're also stressing fitness, so each kid's going to get a jump rope and some other little toys they can play with to keep them active," said Donna Gerstner, GCRC assistant superintendent.

The children also toured an ambulance, sat in the Eagle Med helicopter, and learned about swim safety as the Western Kansas American Red Cross showed them how to put on life jackets.

Parents also were learning about how to help their kids stay safe. The Finney County Health Department demonstrated proper child restraint techniques, and the GCRC provided parents with information about sports safety.

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