CANYON CITY - Crowds of students from Prairie City, Seneca, Dayville and Humbolt elementary schools milled around the Humbolt Elementary School gym at this year's Children's Health and Safety Fair on May 10.
Debi Hueckman who is Grant County Safe Communities Coalition's program coordinator added three new features to the day-long event.
Sparks flew at OTEC's electrical safety workshop as Ned Ratterman, the co-op's safety and loss control manager from Baker City, demonstrated with a model of a city street why downed power lines shouldn't be touched.
Ian Caldwell hauled an ATV safety trailer with mannequins on four-wheelers from his office in Terrebonne for the students to look at. They had to decide which dummies were not properly equipped - only one out of four had all the needed gear.
"I learned that if someone's crossing the road, you stop for them (and) don't chase animals with your ATV," said fifth-grader Lane Woodcock. "I think it was pretty helpful for people who want to get an ATV because they need to learn what they need to have."
"Raise your hand if you're a bully," was one of many questions Master Tim Davis asked at the bully proof workshop. The local martial arts instructor and reserve police officer captured the students' attention with humor and personal stories as he recalled how he dealt with being picked on as a young boy - the shortest in his class. He gave students tips on how to deal with bullies and did some role playing with them.
One important tip he gave: use your smarts, not your fists, and get the help of a teacher if the bullying continues. Wait for the right moment to ask for help, unless it's needed immediately, such as just before recess - not in the middle of a history lesson, he said.
Another important workshop which made a return to the fair was gun safety taught by Jessie Lewis and John Day Police Chief Rich Tirico.
Several hands shot up when the children were asked if there were firearms in their home, making the advice, "Stop, don't touch, leave the area, tell an adult," especially important.
Students also learned about fire safety from Charlie Caughlin and other local firefighters with a trip through a trailer which simulates a fire. The children practiced what to do, including crawling on the floor, escaping out a window, and meeting at a prearranged spot.
Kerryann Woomer, a volunteer, and Patty McClure, transportation safety coordinator for the Oregon Department of Transportation from the La Grande area, taught children the importance of wearing helmets - and wearing them properly. This workshop had some students looking forward to the bike rodeo, which was held the next day.
Humbolt fifth-grader Ruthie Smith seemed to enjoy everything the fair had to offer.
"I liked the bullying section and where they taught us about guns and how it's not safe for kids to use them, and the electricity, how it's not safe to touch electricity," she said. "I also liked the motorcycle place; they taught us that you shouldn't ride with two at a time. It was fun."