BAXTER — Watching a crash test dummy being thrown around like a rag doll in a roll-over simulator gave 500 fifth-graders at Forestview Middle School in Baxter a good idea of what could happen if they didn’t wear their seat belts.
Forestview conducted an event entitled Safety Days Tuesday and Wednesday where students got a 30-minute lesson from professionals in the community who volunteered their time to talk about their professions that revolve around safety.
The stations included the Minnesota State Patrol that demonstrated the roll-over simulator; Brainerd Fire Department; Baxter Police Department; Crow Wing County Sheriff’s Department Boat and Water division; outdoor safety by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; germs and basic first aid by Essentia Health St. Joseph’s Medical Center; 911 calls, first aid and ambulance services by North Memorial Ambulance; machine safety by Brainerd Rental; dog safety by Don Hannahs, animal control officer.
Layne Danielson, Forestview fifth-grade science teacher, said this is the first year that the school has hosted Safety Days. Danielson said the event used to be conducted at the Crow Wing County Fairgrounds through the University of Minnesota Extension Service, but it ended because of funding.
Danielson and his sister-in-law Amanda Svir of Essentia Health began talking about continuing the event at Forestview because of its importance with safety and the impact it would have on students.
“I knew we could make a tradition here with Safety Days,” said Danielson. “It’s important for students to see these different entities ... And having all the entities here in one location gives the kids a lot of exposure, it’s more hands-on for the kids.”
Svir said Safety Days is a wonderful partnership with the school and the eight professional entities that promote public safety and injury prevention. Svir said the Passenger Safety Coalition also helped with the event.
“This is an awesome opportunity that touches 500 kids in two days,” said Svir. “Even if one person gets the messages, it’s worth it.”
Kari Russell of Essentia Health talked about germs to the students. She discussed how they could keep themselves healthy and how to prevent the spread of germs, just by thoroughly washing their hands and using hand sanitizers.
Forestview students Destinee Wood and Nick Renner both said it was a fun event and a nice reminder of the safety tips, such as wearing their seat belts and how to toss a personal flotation device out to a person who was drowning.
Students Baylee Bagan and Ivy Mussell, who were just stepping out of a North Memorial Ambulance, said they learned from Matt Cordes, operations supervisor at North Memorial, about 911 calls and how the ambulance services work. They earlier learned how to do CPR as demonstrated by Essentia Health staff.
Forestview student Briar Sypnieski said she learned that she should not jump in the water to help save someone because then she also could be a drowning victim.
Crow Wing County deputies Adam Kronstedt and Erik Larson and two members of the dive team had students throw out a personal flotation device out to a test dummy who was drowning.
“We’re trying to teach kids not to jump into the lake after someone who is drowning,” said Kronstedt. “We don’t want them to create another victim. We want them to find help.”
Kronstedt said they talked to the students about finding objects they could use to help someone who was have trouble in the water, the importance of life jackets and basic water safety.
Forestview Principal Jon Anderson said Safety Days provides the students with good safety skills that will help them now and in their future. He said the students got to see first-hand some of the equipment that the first responders use and how beneficial certain items are, like seat belts and life jackets.
“These all are important lessons,” said Anderson. “The volunteers did a marvelous job and I appreciate that they came here to teach our students valuable lessons. I give them a big thank you.”