By Ashley Ferraro
Coordinated by the Coral Springs Police Department, Safety Town is a kindergarten field trip that empowers children with valuable safety tools and prepares them to respond to emergencies. More than 2000 students visit South Florida’s only Safety Town program each year in Coral Springs.
Safety Town is a mock town constructed in Kiwanis Park behind Ramblewood Middle School and Coral Springs Fire Department Station 64. For the entirety of the morning, children explore Safety Town through five unique safety stations led by parent volunteers.
The first safety station teaches personal safety. This module covers weapon safety, strength in numbers, stranger danger, and other critical aspects of personal safety.
From there, the kids move on to a two-part station–911 emergencies and pedestrian safety. First, students learn how to determine if a situation is an emergency and how to contact the police if necessary. Pedestrian safety touches on points like crossing the street as well as safely navigating parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks.
Next is bike safety, which Monica Vargas, CSPD’s Community Involvement Coordinator, says is the children’s favorite station. The students put on their helmets and ride tricycles around Safety Town while adhering to traffic rules.
The fourth station covers environmental and outdoor safety. The students are escorted outside in line of sight with the canal. There, they learn about the dangers of canal swimming, which can especially put them at risk of drowning. This lesson is vital since pediatric drownings are the leading cause of death in Broward County for children ages 1-4 years. The children also learn about the wildlife they might find in and around lakes and canals, including alligators, and how to avert them safely.
Also, at station four, the students are taught how to identify and avoid dangerous insects. South Florida’s proximity to wetlands means there are many harmful insects and reptiles that children should learn to avoid.
Finally, the kindergarteners are taught fire safety with Firefighter Bob from the Coral Springs Fire Department. They learn the importance of devising a fire plan with their families, how to escape from a burning building, and other best practices for fire safety.
The field trip is chaperoned by CSPD’s Community Involvement Officer, Officer Hannah. In addition to her security duties, Officer Hannah spends her time bonding with the students. Her role at Safety Town helps foster a healthy relationship between the children and police officers.
Safety Town also wouldn’t be possible without the parents who volunteer. Monica says that with the program being around for more than 30 years now, she sees parents who vividly recall visiting Safety Town as a kid. Even as decades pass, Safety Town’s impression on the community remains valuable.
“A lot of the kids walk away saying this is the best trip ever,” adds Monica. “They may not remember every little thing about Safety Town, but it will have some type of impact on their lives.”
Safety Town also runs several summer camp sessions. To learn more about Safety Town, call 954-345-1311 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.