Friday, June 1, 2012

Safety Matters to Area Girl Scouts


Eighty-six Girl Scouts from York, Kittery, Eliot, South Berwick and Kennebunk recently attended “Safety Matters,” an event designed to help Daisy, Brownie and Junior girls earn the Girl Scout Safety Award. York Beach Fire Captain Ferris Boardman, along with Kittery Police Officers Jay Durgin, Chris Kondos and K-9 officer “Emma” presented a fun an informative evening explaining how girls can stay safe at home and how to make safe choices when encountering strangers and other outside influences.
Captain Boardman explained how fire alarms work and how important it is to make sure batteries are fresh and that alarms are properly maintained. “How many of you hear the smoke alarm at your house and say ‘It must be Dad cooking again?’” Boardman asked the girls. He explained that even if you think it might just be Dad burning toast, families should get in the habit of exiting the house and gathering at a predetermined “family meeting spot” in the yard to make sure everyone is safe.
In addition to demonstrating “Stop, Drop and Roll” and explaining what to do if someone were choking,  he also covered the importance of knowing where the emergency exits are in your home or in public buildings. He emphasized making sure emergency exits, especially in your home, are not blocked. Not only will the occupants of the home not be able to get out, but firefighters and rescue workers will not be able to get in to help. Sound advice.
Officer Chris Kondos discussed playground, school bus and bicycle safety, what to do if a stranger approaches or if you are lost in the woods or in a shopping mall. He emphasized that girls should know their home telephone number and street address, and the importance of having family contact information available. The contact information should include telephone numbers where parents can be reached including work and cell phone numbers as well as the phone numbers of trusted neighbors the girls could call if there were an emergency in the home and their parents were away. The Gundalow Service Unit, sponsor of the Girl Scout safety award event, provided each girl with a Family Contact packet to take home which also included a mini first aid kit for minor scrapes and burns.
While the girls were very attentive and interacted throughout each of the presentations, they were particularly interested in Emma the German Shepard K-9 officer. Emma’s “dad,” Officer Jay Durgin explained the search work Emma performs and her importance to the police department. He demonstrated how well she is able to find items, which generated many excited squeals from amazed girls (and adults). Emma was rewarded for her success with a special toy, which she absolutely loved.
(courtesy photo)