April 11, 2003 | By: Aimee D. Heald

On a chilly Saturday in March, central Kentucky youths gathered on hay bales outside the Fayette County Extension office to learn about staying safe in a variety of situations from mowing the lawn to riding bicycles and four-wheelers. 

Fayette County 4-Hers had the opportunity to peek inside fire and police vehicles, watch a demonstration about how drug-sniffing dogs are trained and ride through a bicycle safety course.

Cooperative Extension has been partnering with the Kentucky Dept. of Agriculture to combat child and adult accidents since 1994. Most of their efforts focus on farm and ATV safety.

“This is an excellent child safety day camp,” said Dale Dobson of the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. “A lot of the reasons we’ve seen injuries and deaths decrease is because of education and raising awareness levels by working together for one common goal.”

Travis Keene attended Safety Day Camp for the first time. He said he’ll take home many lessons from the activities in which he participated.

“It’s been really fun because I got to learn about stuff like how to act around a fire, how to walk a llama and how to know what chemicals are,” he said. “I think the lawnmower safety is the most important for me because I’m probably going to be mowing the lawn at home this year.

Dale Dobson and the Ky. Dept. of Agriculture staged a mock accident to show the students how to react if they witness an accident. A student actor volunteered to be the victim and was placed under an overturned four-wheeler. Students watched as Dobson called 911. Firemen came to the scene with sirens blaring and rescued the actor from under the ATV. 

As a helicopter approached, students watched with anticipation while the firemen prepared their peer for transport to the hospital. Once the helicopter was safely on the ground, students were allowed to look inside and talk to the paramedics, firemen and pilots. Many of the students asked for autographs from the emergency crew.

Dobson believes people are more conscious of safety now than they once were. He said as long as leaders continue to raise awareness about safety issues and do programs like safety day camp, the number of preventable deaths in children and adults will decrease.