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Hands-on day camp teaches kids safety

The free Safe Kids Gwinnett Safety Safari Camp at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross Wednesday. The camp focused on six areas of safety: Personal Safety, Water Safety, Fire Safety, Household Safety, Sport Safety, and Pedestrian and Vehicle Safety.


Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Allison Bolden, 11, crawls to a door during a simulated fire exercise beside Tony Lee of the Gwinnett County Fire Department Community Risk Reduction team and volunteer Marisa Almond, back left, at the free Safe Kids Gwinnett Safety Safari Camp at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross Wednesday. The camp focused on six areas of safety: Personal Safety, Water Safety, Fire Safety, Household Safety, Sport Safety, and Pedestrian and Vehicle Safety.

Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Allison Bolden, 11, crawls to a door during a simulated fire exercise beside Tony Lee of the Gwinnett County Fire Department Community Risk Reduction team and volunteer Marisa Almond, back left, at the free Safe Kids Gwinnett Safety Safari Camp at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross Wednesday. The camp focused on six areas of safety: Personal Safety, Water Safety, Fire Safety, Household Safety, Sport Safety, and Pedestrian and Vehicle Safety.

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Safe Kids Gwinnett Safety Safari Camp

The free Safe Kids Gwinnett Safety Safari Camp at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross Wednesday. The camp focused on six areas of safety: Personal Safety, Water Safety, Fire Safety, Household Safety, Sport Safety, and Pedestrian and Vehicle Safety.

The free Safe Kids Gwinnett Safety Safari Camp at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross Wednesday. The camp focused on six areas of safety: Personal Safety, Water Safety, Fire Safety, Household Safety, Sport Safety, and Pedestrian and Vehicle Safety.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Sylvia Goalen with the Gwinnett County Fire Department Community Risk Reduction team educates Jayde Hall and other children about a smoke alarm during the free Safe Kids Gwinnett Safety Safari Camp at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross Wednesday.

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Staff Photo: Brendan Sullivan Aisha Bolden, 10, uses a hula hoop during a friendly competition at the free Safe Kids Gwinnett Safety Safari Camp at Lillian Webb Park in Norcross Wednesday.

NORCROSS -- A gaggle of various-aged kiddos plopped near a blue mat in the middle of Norcross' Lillian Webb Park Wednesday, observing members of the Gwinnett County fire department and SafeKids Gwinnett act like fools.

Shortly after a colleague shrieked "Fire!" and rolled around on said mat vividly demonstrating how to stop, drop and roll, Sylvia Goalen helped usher children under a billowing black sheet meant to signify smoke. They touched a pint-sized door to "feel for fire" on the other side and earned applause upon making it through unscathed.

And that was just one station.

SafeKids Gwinnett and several of its community partners -- Gwinnett County fire, Gwinnett and Norcross police, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Daily Post among them -- hosted a one-day "safety safari" throughout the day Wednesday. It was light on the actual safari theme but heavy on the learning.

"Every specialty that we have here is a preventable injury," said Goalen, a fire and life safety educator with the fire department. "And that's the No. 1 killer of our children."

About 40 kids turned out for Wednesday's camp, early-morning rain likely scaring away some of the 70 that registered. They were fed, given firefighter's hats and bike helmets and taught hands-on about water, bike, vehicle, household and sport safety, among other things.

A spinoff of fire safety camps held in the past at various stations, it was the third camp held this year. The other two were at local apartment complexes .

"Teaching kids while they're doing things like this that are fun and hands-on is when they listen, when they learn," SafeKids coordinator Tania Diaz said. They don't learn from sitting there listening to the same old crap over and over ... It's the hands-on kind of stuff that's going to really make these messages stick with kids."

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