Safety lessons are life savers

Published 8:41 am Tuesday, May 25, 2010

JACKSON — Some children from Northampton County received lessons on general safety.

On Saturday, approximately 30 children participated in Progressive Agriculture Safety Day hosted by Northampton County Cooperative Extension.

The program teaches children about safety around the home and farm. This year’s event was made up of four safety stations, including topics about knife, lawnmower, Internet and chemical safety.

Cooperative Extension Agent Verlene Stephenson said the topics are switch out each year.

“We don’t have the same thing two years in a row,” she said.

This year included new topics knife and lawnmower safety.

The participants, who ranged in ages from 9-13 (some were younger and escorted by a parent or an older sibling), rotated around the stations in groups.

Cooperative Extension 4-H Program Associate Ann Lawrence spoke to the children about knife safety, integrating a fun craft project where the youngsters carved heart-shaped soap with plastic knives.

Cooperative Extension Agent Lee Tyre talked with the kids about chemical safety while showing how normal liquids like orange soda pop can look similar to toxic chemicals like antifreeze.

“If you’re not sure about it, leave it alone,” said Tyre.

Meanwhile, Interim Cooperative Extension Director Craig Ellison went over lawnmower and weed trimmer safety. He showed the groups how to property use lawnmowers and the hazards that may lie in the yard, including chains, sticks and plastic bottles.

Agent Bruce Kennedy with State Bureau of Investigation’s Computer Crimes Unit gave the children tips on how to be safe on the Internet.

Kennedy gave the groups a list of risky behaviors on the Internet, including sending or posting revealing pictures, talking to people they don’t know and talking to people you don’t know.

“Once we send something out on YouTube or the Internet, it’s always there,” he cautioned. “Just think before you do anything.”

Kennedy also spoke about cyberbullying and how children can protect themselves. He advised the following: don’t respond to the bully, block or ban the bully, save the evidence and tell a trusted adult.

The Seaboard Lions Club provided lunch for the hungry brood, a tradition for the camp now in its tenth year. Six of the members along with two of the members’ wives served hotdogs and hamburgers to the children.

“The Lions Club primary function is to help the blind,” said President Freddie Hill. “But we certainly feel this camp is certainly worthwhile.”

Lion’s Club member Reid Harris agreed.

“When (Progressive Agricultural Safety Day) first started there were a lot of children being killed or maimed in farming accidents and in general accidents,” said Harris. “We think the little bit of money is well spent (for this program).”

Diamond James of Garysburg said she learned how to use different types of knives safely and how to carve stuff. She said she also learned about how to be safe on the Internet.

“You might be a child and you might think you’re talking to another child, but really it’s an adult,” she said.

Ryan Daughtry of Lasker joked that on a hot day he enjoyed learning about anything those stations located inside in the air-conditioning offered. He added the Internet Safety presentation offered good tips on staying out of harm’s way and keeping Internet bullies at bay.