The Coos-Curry Electric Cooperative, Inc. headquarters in Port Orford was buzzing with unusual visitors June 1st for the second annual Safety Camp. 24 first- and second-grade students joined CCEC volunteers for this year’s Safety Camp made possible with the support of Coos-Curry Electric Charitable Foundation (CCECF), the CCEC Community Involvement program and efforts of volunteer staff and community members.
Safety Camp is modeled after the weeklong Safety City offered by the city of Brookings and taught by Dan Palicki, with the goal to educate children on the importance of safety. Dan mentored CCEC employees last year enabling CCEC to solely run the 2019 Safety Camp. Safety City generously allowed CCEC and Safety Camp students the use of their equipment until CCECF can purchase their own equipment. Brookings Safety City holds three -one weeklong camps during the summer, for information contact 541-469-3118.
As students were registered and said goodbye to parents and guardians, some with hesitation - others with energy and excitement, they were divided into two groups to keep classroom counts small, then they were off. First was a fitting for a free helmet made possible through a generous grant from the Wild Rivers Community Foundation. The grant also helped with snacks and lunch for all participants.
“Look left, look right, then left again.”
This was repeated through-out the day as peddle cars were driven through make-shift streets tucked between the CCEC office and warehouse. The street was painted with simulated sidewalks, crosswalks, stoplights, railroad crossings and intersections. As each obstacle was approached, the drill was to look and ensure the peddle car could safely cross through the area.
Next, a few children had the opportunity to make a simulated 911 call after a classroom discussion on when it is appropriate to call 911. With help from volunteer coordinator and CCEC employee Marie Coleman, students relayed their home address and answered all the questions the dispatcher needed to send help.
After practice calls, children learned about fire safety from Gold Beach Fire Department volunteers Sam Waller and Mac Hagood. Mac fully suited up in fire gear to demonstrate that a firefighter may look scary while wearing all their gear and a mask however, it is important to not be afraid of them. They are there to help. They also emphasized the importance of having an evacuation plan. Does your family have an evacuation plan in place?
Later, children viewed a short video from the Eddie Eagle GunSafe Program that teaches four important steps to take if a firearm or weapon is found. The 8-minute cartoon featured characters Eddie Eagle and the Wing Team, who were playing at the park when an unattended backpack was found under the bench by Gary the Goose. He asked his friends whose bag it could be and they all looked at each other in confusion and curiosity. The zipper was then opened, and to their shock and wonder, a handgun was revealed. This is where Eddie Eagle and the jingle comes in, “Stop, don’t touch, run away and tell a grown-up.”
The video explains how dangerous the gun is and that it is always important to leave it alone and tell a grown up. The children then all learned about gun safety, and that there is a big difference between pretend guns used in video games and real ones.
As the kids giggled and moved on to their next event, the jingle was chanted throughout the day. Parents can learn more about the program at eddieeagle.nra.org.
A surprise visit from Cal-Ore Life Flight fascinated everyone, both students and volunteers, as pilot Jeff Hubbell landed the helicopter on the grass nearby. The flight crew consisted of flight nurse, Shellee Magnuson and flight paramedic, Marcus Tessler. They spoke to the group and simulated loading an injured patient.
Of course, a trip to CCEC would not be complete without a visit from linemen. Nate Duey and Tim Hawkins, both CCEC linemen, volunteered time for the day. They kept the attention of all students when they spoke about how electricity is generated, how power is provided to the homes the students live in and the dangers to be aware of.
They used an interactive board called Power Town to demonstrate these concepts and practiced with students on how to be certain they were a safe distance away from all electrical dangers.
If a tree took a power line down, would you know how far the safe zone is? As every-one held up their thumb and fixated on the dangerous object, they stepped backwards until the object disappeared behind their thumb, knowing they were in the safe zone.
More highlights from the day. Brookings Police Department K-9 unit, Officer Zan VanZelf and his canine Hulk gave an impressive demonstration of police K-9 obedience and training. Curry County Search and Rescue member Luke Martinez shared information about water safety and hypothermia with a hands-on demonstration. He also reminded all students that any child under the age of 12 must wear a life jacket when on moving boats.
The day ended with a closing ceremony where each student received a bag of safety related items to take-home along with goodies from Umpqua bank. Finally, two names were drawn to win bikes donated by CCEC employee Dan Springer.
“Safety Camp was a whopping success! My wife and I were both very impressed with all of the staff and community support of the effort...so many great experiences to help those young minds learn and navigate safely in society. Many of the employees at CCEC support our communities with volunteer efforts of many types that often go unnoticed and without thanks. They make a difference for good and it is appreciated by many. At the Safety Camp my wife mentioned that whenever she crosses at a sidewalk, her mind flashes back to a similar safety camp she went to as a little girl and she thinks, “look left, right, left”.,” says CCEC General Manager and CEO Brent Bischoff.
By Shelly Yockey