Living safe in a city

Trips to this city save lives.

Trips to this city save lives.

Kiwanis Safety City’s training of children earned it the 2012 Injury Control Champion award from the Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research.

“We were thrilled with the University of Alberta award,” said executive director Judy Douglas of the university School of Public Health’s honour.

“To be recognized by your peers is pretty special.”

The Injury Control in Alberta Awards highlight innovative, high quality injury control throughout the province.

Opened in 2000 at the Hwy 11 and 30 Ave. junction with fundraising spearheaded by the Kiwanis Club, the facility is operated by a non-profit society funded with government grants, revenue from commercial advertising, program fees and donations.

About 3,000 children aged five to 12 pass through its fire, home, acreage and farm, traffic and bicycle programs annually.

From May through August, five-hour bicycle safety sessions, summer safety camps and birthday parties are offered, as is an animal safety course in partnership with the SPCA.

May and June traffic and pedestrian safety programs use miniature all terrain vehicles.

“Those months are 80 per cent booked already. They come and drive those quads and they love it,” said Douglas.

“They have to know what to do as a pedestrian and driver since they’ll be driving. They don’t get it all, but we have lots of (adult) drivers who don’t get it all.”

Acreage and farm safety and fire and home safety programs are offered year round.

Both use the acronym AIM — assess safety, identify hazards and manage behaviours — to educate children.

“They pick it up pretty quickly,” said Douglas.

A barn houses 12 interactive displays designed to show youngsters what perils they may face on farms and acreages.

“They’re so enthusiastic. The really little guys don’t really remember some things so I call it bedlam in the barn.”

The fire and home safety course uses a cutaway house model to show hazards during a 45-minute class where children learn how heat, fuel and oxygen are needed to make fire possible.

“I want you to be fire detectives,” Douglas tells students so they can determine hazards and how to eliminate them.

The course touches on flammable goods storage, fireplaces, electricity, chemical labels and playing with fire.

She stresses families need fire escape plans should a blaze occur. Plans include rooms having two ways out, rope ladders from second storey rooms and diagrams with escape routes for easy reference. Children also learn to feel doors for heat with the backs of their hands.

Instruction then moves outdoors to a fire safe house where they learn to correct hazards in a kitchen before escaping from bedrooms filled with smoke made by a fog machine.

“We want them to be protectors of their homes. Adults can learn a lot from kids who come here.”