Safe And Sound
Kids Listen To Experts On Avoiding Danger
Posted: February 11, 2013
Jacque Cramer shows children how to be safe on the farm during a demonstration at Home and Farm Safety Day at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds on Saturday. About 125 kids and 80 volunteers attended this year’s event. (Photos by Michael Reilly / DN-R)
Jennifer Whistleman, with Blue and Gray Search and Rescue Dogs, introduces her German shepherd Kobi to a group of parents and children and explains the team’s mission at the safety event.
Jennifer Whistleman, from Blue and Gray Search and Rescue Dogs, explains how their team makes use of topo maps and portable GPS units during searches for missing persons.
Cheyenne Beery, 8, of Rockingham County meets Jennifer Whistleman’s search and rescue dog Kobi during the Blue and Gray Search and Rescue Dogs demonstration at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds on Saturday. This was the first year that the organization participated in Home and Farm Safety Day.
That was the message from Tracey Lamb of the Virginia Utility Protection Service, also known as Miss Utility of Virginia. Lamb told the children she met at Saturday’s Home and Farm Safety Day that knowledge is power when it comes to utility equipment. That includes notifying utilities ahead of time before an excavation so you’ll know where and how to avoid any wires, pipes or other equipment that might be underneath the surface, she said. The VUPS is a nonprofit organization that educates the public on the potential dangers of underground utilities.
“[Children] don’t realize how things get to their house,” said Lamb, who works in the organization’s Chesterfield office. “Once they see the display and see how utilities run underground, they get it.”
About 125 kids and 80 volunteers attended this year’s event at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.
Rockingham Memorial Hospital sponsored the annual safety day, one of many such events held around the U.S. and in other countries through the Progressive Agriculture Foundation.
Houston Bowman, a Timberville farmer who left an endowment for farm safety awareness in his will, also is a title sponsor of the local event.
Miss Utility was one of the newcomers to this year’s safety expo, as was the Blue and Gray Search and Rescue Dogs, a group based in the Shenandoah Valley.
When lost in the woods, children need to know what to do — and more importantly, what not to do, canine team member Debbie Thompson said. In short, stay put, she said.
“Find a tree, hug a tree, don’t move,” she said.
Thompson recounted the case of a missing 2-year-old girl in Madison County last year. She was found unharmed after being lost for four hours.
“She kept going,” Thompson said, noting how that likely hampered searchers’ efforts to find her.
While Hinton resident Alan Kesner, 7, learned how to make a shoeprint for a search dog to track, snake awareness, which he had learned about earlier in the day, was also on his mind.
All you need to know when encountering a snake, he said, is to make a lot of noise and stay six feet away.
“And you should never pick them up,” Alan said.
His mother, Sarah, hopes the lessons from Saturday stick.
“[The event] helps them pay attention to their surroundings,” she said. “There are some things I wouldn’t necessarily know how to teach them.”
If parents can leave with an education on safety each year, then that makes the event all the better, said Vickie Davis, one of the coordinators from RMH.
Organizers spend about eight months preparing for the expo.
“If the children learn when they’re young, they’ll take it through life with them,” Davis said.
Contact Preston Knight at 574-6272 or email@example.com