Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Safety Center Field Trip

Second week in March

A Safety Center (in case you don't have one in your area) is simply a building that houses both the local sheriff's deputies and the fire station.  Ours actually shared a conference room and since they are in the middle of an enormous residential area with a ton of kids were very used to giving kids talks there.  We did a 45 minute tour/talk with the police and about 30 minutes with the fire department.  It was pretty awesome!

Safety Center

The plan was to go to a local park after and have the girls play while we did our "safety test" individually.  But all good plans... it snowed earlier that week and we moved that part to my house.  Less fun, but it worked.

Goal and Badges:

This field trip was designed to tie into the Magenta "Respect Authority" Petal.  We also used it as an opportunity to get the Safety Pin.  The Police taught the girls about "911" and what to do if an adult is chocking or in trouble and the Fireman went over "Stop, Drop, and Roll."
Daisy Safety Pin

Sheriff's Department

We met with the Sheriff's deputies first.  They brought us into the conference room and talked to the girls about the role of deputies in our community, when and how to get their help of the girls needed it, and all about "911."  The deputies also talked for a while about when it was appropriate to call 911 and when it wasn't.  Apparently, they get quite a few calls when a sibling is being "mean" to them.

Then they showed them around the station, including dispatch, a holding cell (their favorite part), their break room and the garage with the police cars.  They let the girls look inside the car and set off the different sirens.  They even let the girls see some of their gadgets like the radar gun.  At the end, they got magnets and sheriff's badge stickers to take home.

Fire department

Next, one of the firemen came to show the girls around (wow, those firemen were young.  Made me feel old.)  First they brought the girls into their big garage and showed them their equipment and the fire truck.  (They didn't get to go on.  I'm not sure why.  My daughter was acting up at this point and I was dealing with her.)  The fireman (kid) taught the girls a little bit about fire safety and "stop, drop, and roll."  

Then he showed us around their kitchen (um... a million times nicer then the sheriff's department's which had a refrigerator, a microwave, and a soda machine), their enormous rec room with reclining chairs and beautiful murals, and their impressive work-out room.

By this time the girls' patience was wearing thin and they were taking turns being a pain in the rear.  It was time to give them a snack pack and head back to my house.

Safety Pin/ Safety Test

Some of you my have read the word "test" as I've been mentioning this and thought "Whoa now, this is Daisy Scouts not school!  Isn't a test a little much?"  I do agree that Girl Scouts should not be a pressure thing.  These kids have enough of that put on them already, but we thought the Safety Pin was important enough to do a little differently.

In general, even though we have homework sheets, for the previous badges and patches if the girl showed up they got the petal or patch.  For the Safety Pin the girls actually had to prove that they knew the material.  We tried to make it as low stress as possible and to set the girls up for success.  We sent the mothers the test weeks before to go over with their daughters.   And we made the test optional.  In other words, if you wanted the pin you could take the test.  If you didn't want to take the test, you didn't get the pin, but that was perfectly fine and no one would put pressure on them to go for the pin.  If they didn't pass the test they could retake it until they did.

This is the test we gave the girls:

Question and answer key

Safety Test 

First, we asked the girls for volunteers, then I took them upstairs in pairs (yes, there was another adult in the room per gs regulations) and asked the following the questions.  I would prompt them for the first two questions if they weren't able to answer immediately, but they needed to know their phone number (the mom's told me ahead of time which number they were memorizing) and their street address all by themselves. 

1. Q: Girls will be asked “What do you do if your clothes catch on fire?”
     A: They need to say, “Stop, Drop, and Roll” and demonstrate this.

This was something the girls had just done with the fire department, so not that hard.  We did have them actually do the "stop, drop and roll."  Some girls were faster to jump to it then others but overall I didn't have any problems with this question.

2. Q:  Girls will be asked “What do you do if you think someone is choking?”
     A:   They need to say “Ask are you ok?”  If the person choking can’t answer then the girl has to say, “Get a grown up.”
         Q:   What do you do if it is the only grown up there
         A:    Girls say "Dial 911”

So to be honest, we had trouble deciding what to do here.  'Cause really I'm not teaching a five year-old the Heimlich Maneuver.  That's just ridiculous.  This is what we came up with and I think it's pretty reasonable.  It also applies to other situations when an adult is just not OK.

This was probably the most fun for the girls because they got to take turns pretending to be the person choking and allowing their partner to try to figure out if she could talk.  Then we would go through the sequence of things they should do.  This loosened them up a bit for the hard part.

3. Q:  Know their address. 
       A:  They need to know street address, and “Home Town, Virginia.”  They don’t need to know the zip code.  

We didn't require their zip code, because, really, if they were lost no one was going to ask their zip code.  Also our street numbers are long.  With five numbers for their street address and nine for the phone numbers that's a lot to memorize.   

Many of the girls had trouble with their town, funny enough, though since they did the test in pairs, usually at least one girl would know it. Some times they needed prompts like "what do we call our pool, or what does mommy say when she says we live in ____."  I did have the explain which was the state and which was the town quite often, but, hey, they're little.  We let that slide.

4. Q:  Know their Phone number
                 A: They need to know one phone number (let me know which one it will be).  They should be able to enter it into a phone and know the number without prompting.

This was the one I was strictest about.  I wanted all the girls to be able to call their mom or dad at any time, for safety sake.  I was going to let them actually call home on my cell, but we ran out of time. 

I regretted teaching them a little when my daughter started calling me at work just to say she missed me or to ask if she could have this or that.  Oh well, at least I know she knows it and I got a few cute voicemails out of it.

In the end, all the girls got their pin.  Only one didn't get it that first day.  She froze and couldn't answer the last two questions.  She didn't seem too upset though and got her pin during the next meeting after practicing at home a little more.

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