Since New Albany Safety Town was launched in 2004 with initial support from KeyBank and the New Albany Women's Network through the New Albany Community Foundation, more than 5,500 local children have learned safety tips from state certified teachers, New Albany police officers and Plain Township firefighters.

Safety Town has been canceled this year because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, but our police officers and firefighters are working together to provide safety guidance to parents of young children through a series of short videos. Our 2020 class of nearly 400 students might not be able to attend, but we still are committed to sharing tips on such topics as poison hazards, fire prevention, calling 911, animal safety, water safety and safety while walking or riding bicycles.

These videos won't just serve to educate our children – they also will be good reminders to parents about what to watch for at home, at a pool or on the roadway, sidewalk or leisure trail.

Each video, roughly 2 to 3 minutes in length, will be available on New Albany's social-media accounts, including YouTube, and the city website at newalbanyohio.org/stories. The first video went live last week, and other videos will be uploaded throughout June, so check regularly for new ones. When a video is live, it will stay live, allowing for easy viewing convenience for parents and children whenever they want to watch it.

Children are our greatest treasure, and although they cannot get the full scope of Safety Town this year or interact with officers and firefighters like normal, at least this is an opportunity to share the basic components of our safety tips with them – and you.

Although the video series will bring these safety tips to life much more than this column, here are some that will be covered:

* Don't play with matches or lighters.

* Firefighters and police officers are your friends – don't be afraid of their safety gear.

* When making forts, don't cover up electrical outlets or devices with blankets or rugs.

* Talk about a home-safety plan in case of a fire.

* If something on you catches on fire, stop, drop and roll.

* Kids, always ask an adult before eating or drinking something you aren't sure about – cleaners and medicine sometimes look like food or candy.

* Follow street signs and always look both ways before crossing the street.

* Ride bikes on safe places like sidewalks or leisure trails.

* Always ask permission before petting an animal.

* Be gentle with animals and leave them alone when they are eating.

* Always swim with a buddy or an adult.

* Do not run in any part of the pool area.

If you have questions after watching a video, contact the New Albany Police Department at 614-855-1234 or the Plain Township Fire Department at 614-855-7370.

Scott McAfee is chief communications and marketing officer for the city of New Albany.