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Life skills to save lives


Classes for CPR/AED and first aid to help adults, children and infants in an emergency are offered by the South Metro Safety Foundation.



By Patte Smith, photos courtesy of South Metro Safety Foundation

Education is not all about reading, writing and math or studying hard to prepare for college or a career, although those are very important. Learning is also about practical day-to-day knowledge and life skills with its own rewards. Safety awareness and accident prevention many times are overlooked until it is too late. Well, it is not too late for our community to realize that right in our own backyard we have some of the best trainers ready to help children, teens and adults learn safety skills and awareness.

The South Metro Safety Foundation (SMSF) and South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR) play an immense role in safety education for residents throughout the Douglas County community. The SMSF is the nonprofit partner of SMFR.

According to SMSF Executive Director Brenda Poage, the SMSF and SMFR community services divisions work together to educate citizens and businesses in emergency medical care and injury and accident prevention. “Learning safety skills, whether taking a teen crash avoidance class or learning CPR, our community becomes an integral part of the lifesaving system.”

The SMSF has come a long way since its beginning in 1983. Adam Miller, a dairy farmer from Elizabeth and his wife Dorothy, a school teacher from Lakewood, donated a portion of their estate in their will to the Parker Fire Protection District. Dedicated to using these funds to create a safer community through prevention education was and still is the goal. As the years went by, eventually Parker Fire and South Metro Fire joined forces and became South Metro Fire Rescue and with SMSF continued to offer community safety programs for the entire district area.

“While several safety education classes are offered by SMSF,” explained Poage, “we do offer programs in partnership with SMFR. The car seat inspection program is offered six times each month at various fire stations in the district. Over the summer, both organizations collaborate on the Kids and Teen Fire Academies.”

“We have been offering community safety classes since 1991, and our most popular programs are those for kids including babysitting, youth safety skills and teen crash avoidance classes,” Poage said.

SMFR’s Community Risk Reduction group develops programs for the public after they examine certain neighborhoods that are at risk. They also design presentations specifically tailored for children to learn safety based on Douglas County’s local data and national trends. Classes are customized in this way and are not generic.

SMFR teaches third-graders about home escape plans using information that they are currently learning in school and use visual cues that help the kids retain what they learn.

“One of our programs, home fire safety, is offered to residents who speak English as a second language,” explained Einar Jensen, risk reduction specialist for SMFR. “From programs for older adults, businesses and classes for students from grades K – 12, we have many to choose from.”

For a list of presentations offered by SMFR, email ReducingRisk@southmetro.org. For information about registering for classes offered by SMSF, visit www.southmetrofoundation.org/.

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