The Cherokee County Fire and Emergency Services' Education Department on Friday kicked off Safe Start, its new pilot fire and burn safety program.
Safe Start is a course developed and funded by Safe Kids Worldwide, its partners and Safe Kids Cherokee County.
The program targets 3 to 6-year-old children and is designed to reduce the number of home fires and burn injuries to those children, who are at the greatest risk of injury and death from those fires and burns.
The program not only teaches preschoolers about burn and fire safety, but also involves their parents and extended family members.
Teachers and owners of local child care locations with over 300 classes in the county were visited by Cherokee County Fire and Safety Educator Sgt. Babette Davis in July and were asked to participate in the Safe Start Fire and Burn Safety Program.
The initiative provides lesson plans, interactive activity opportunities, songs and hands-on learning to children and their parents.
Visiting the largest population of preschoolers allowed Sgt. Davis to personally reach out, inform and invite child care professionals to learn this new course in an effort to save more lives and avoid future injuries.Cherokee Senior Fire Safety Educator Capt. Chad Arp and Sgt. Davis with the Cherokee County Fire Marshal’s Office, along with George Williams of Woodstock Fire and Rescue, taught the five-hour class to early childhood education teachers from all over Cherokee County.
Karen Wylie, lead educator at North Georgia Preparatory located in Ball Ground, was one of the first to complete the training.
She teaches classes to preschool children and "the ease of the lesson plans and the learning program will be a definite improvement to her present fire safety program," the agency said on Friday.
"Involving parents, teachers and children along with local fire fighters will give all involved a stronger sense of knowledge and safety and help reduce the fear of reaction and response time if a fire were to occur," it added.