Delaware County might not be as rural as it once was, but both rural and urban youngsters could find themselves in situations where their safety is in jeopardy.

Delaware County might not be as rural as it once was, but both rural and urban youngsters could find themselves in situations where their safety is in jeopardy.

That's why Grady Memorial Hospital and the Delaware County Emergency Management Agency teamed up 18 years ago to create "Kids Safety Scenes" for county fifth-graders.

Kids Safety Scenes, held at the Delaware County Fairgrounds, is an educational tool designed to keep children safe, said Steve Garlock, president of Grady.

"It's a way to educate young people in our community about safety and the impact that can have on their life," he said.

About 1,000 fifth-graders from schools around the county attended the daylong event. They were divided into groups and spent 20 minutes at each of a number of stations dealing with different topics.

At the stations, experts discussed ATV, bicycle and pedestrian safety, first aid, farm hazards, helicopter safety, 911 and accident scene safety, railroad safety, Internet safety, water safety, seat belt use, wild animal and pet safety, and firearm safety.

While the Olentangy school district is becoming more urban, said Arrowhead Elementary teacher Dave Maloney, it still has rural roots.

"These topics are beneficial for our kids to learn and talk about. They need to hear about lawn mower and pet safety and other practical things that aren't covered by our curriculum. As they get older and assume more responsibilities, they may come in contact with these issues," he said.

"I think they get things brought up that never occurred to them or they could find themselves in the same situation," said Sherry Prine, a fifth-grade teacher at Buckeye Valley North Elementary. The demonstration on grain safety "really hit home because we lost a student to a grain bin accident."

Throughout her demonstration, Molly Barnes, an Extension agent with The Ohio State University, held up a sign that read, "Don't play in grain."

She kept her demonstration simple, using a miniature grain bin and a plastic "Gumby" figurine to show how quickly someone who falls into a bin could get enveloped in grain.

She also had two students from each school try to blow up a balloon through a straw while the balloon was imbedded in the grain. All turned red in their efforts but failed to inflate the balloon.

She explained that the lungs are like a balloon and even though someone's head may be out of the grain they won't be able to breathe because their lungs can't expand.

"It just gives our kids an added dimension of learning ... in daily life," said Rob Firchau, a fifth-grade teacher at Big Walnut Elementary.

Willis Intermediate School teacher Sarah Ekegren was especially impressed with the Internet predator station taught by Ron Vogel, a community outreach deputy with the Delaware County Sheriff's Office.

"It touched on a lot of safety issues including cyber-bullying and predators," she said.

Based on the papers her students wrote after last year's program, she knows that the things they learn throughout the day "really hit home with them. I hope they go back and share these lessons with their friends and family."

Tiahna Ginn from Willis heard one thing from Vogel about e-mail addresses that will change how she uses the Internet.

"My e-mail has my name in it and I'm going to change that," she said.

Other kids took away safety tips that they will use in their lives.

"I learned you shouldn't touch wild animals," said Kylie McKenzie of Big Walnut Elementary.

"They might be sick," added Lauren Grischow of Olentangy's Johnnycake Corners Elementary.

Sam Scharff of Buckeye Valley North was impressed with the program on accident scenes.

"I learned to not panic when something happens, whether it's me that's hurt or another person," he said.

cpreston@thisweeknews.com