Safety Day conducted for Seymour-Redding students


Being prepared, not scared, was the goal of a recent Safety Day at Seymour-Redding Elementary School.

“It’s sad that we have to do this, but we don’t want our kids to be scared, only ready and prepared if something happens,” Principal Steve Bush said as he prepared students for an active shooter drill in the cafeteria.

The drill was just one of several stations involving police, firefighters, conservation officers and other first responders teaching students about what to do in emergency situations.

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Officers with the city, county and state police talked to students about what their jobs entail and the tools they use every day to keep people safe.

Firefighters with the Seymour Fire Department taught students about fire alarms, extinguishers and how to escape a fire by crawling. They also stressed the importance of having a family meeting place to students.

Conservation Officer Blake Everhart talked with students about being a voice of reason to their parents in flood situations, urging them to remind their parents not to drive in high water.

Everhart also discussed how he has helped those who have been caught in floodwaters in the past.

At a Jackson County Emergency Medical Services station, paramedic Steve Yeager and emergency medical technician Ray Minton talked about what 911 operators do and when students should call 911.

“We tell them it can be for sickness or injured, accidents, or if mom or dad isn’t responding right or seem off in some way,” Minton said.

Yeager said the students had interesting questions and some really good questions.

Especially given the issues in the community such as the opioid crisis, they said children are often unjustly required to know more about what to do in medical emergencies.

“I’ve heard stories of kids who know how to use naloxone or know what the symptoms of an overdose are,” Minton said.

At another station, Seymour Detective Sgt. Troy Munson talked with students about avoiding talking to strangers and how to behave if a stranger — be it a man, woman, child or elder — tried to take them away.

“You can scream, kick, punch, but the best thing to do is try to poke an eye, then run and find an adult you trust,” Munson said.

Safety Day is the brainchild of third-grade teacher Kylene Steward and school counselor Meredith Henry, who both also are certified advance safety specialists.

“We’re not trying to scare the kids. We’re trying to teach them situational awareness and preparedness,” Steward said.

The two attended special training in Indianapolis several years ago to receive their certification and must undergo yearly classes to keep it up to date.

During one of these sessions, the idea of a school safety day came up as a way to teach and refresh students on what to do in emergency situations while at school.

“We don’t want this stuff to happen to them, but if it does, we want them to be prepared and aware of what to do,” Steward said.

She said the day would not have been possible without the help of the first responders who participated in the event and what they do for the community every day.

Bush agreed.

“I want to say ‘thank you’ to (first responders) for them coming to meet our kids and make themselves available, then I want to thank them again for what they do for us on a daily basis,” Bush said.

The event originally was planned to be conducted outdoors, but weather forced it inside.

This change hardly affected the event or the children.

“I think the kids did a wonderful job,” Steward said. “They’ve behaved, had good questions and tried to learn a good amount.”

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