Youths meet the ‘challenge’

Their mission, if they chose to accept it, was to examine the home of Drs. Lorena Jenks and John Nelson to make sure it was safe.
And that’s exactly what six local youths–Amy Gartshore, Mikey Nelson, Sarah Langtry, Kerri Langtry, Jesse Carmody, and Andrea Nelson–did Monday afternoon as they took the Great Canadian Home Safety Challenge to kick off Safe Kids Week, which runs June 1-7.
The challenge, sponsored by Safe Kids Canada and Johnson and Johnson, walks children through their homes with a checklist to make sure certain safety precautions are taken.
For instance, are the smoke detectors working? Are the cleaners locked away or out of reach of children? Are emergency numbers posted by the phone?
“I learned that there’s many things to be aware of,” noted Kerri Langtry, 15. “And each of the criteria we went through can and does affect people’s life unless the appropriate precautions are taken.”
Safety was something six-year-old Andrea Nelson was well aware of, noting people should have smoke detectors in caseof a fire broke out while they were sleeping.
And she knew people should wear helmets when on bicycles.
“If you fall and if you hit your head, you might break your head open,” she warned.
Sarah Langtry felt it was good to go around the house with the checklist that spelled out the different things to look for.
“You don’t really think about all that,” she explained.
“I thought it was good,” echoed Doug Anderson, chairman of the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition, which is promoting Safe Kids Week locally.
Increasing people’s awareness on home safety is the whole purpose of the week. RRVSC co-ordinator Elaine Caron noted even if people did one thing on the checklist, it could prevent a serious accident in the future.
“I’d like to see at least 100 homes in Fort Frances take the challenge,” she urged.
Once the checklist is completed, kids can call a toll-free number and have Safe Kids Canada send a certificate deeming their home “safe.”
In related news, the head of the World Health Organization will be making a stop here in November as the RRVSC moves toward having the Rainy River district declared a “safe community.”
Prof. Leif Svanstrom will be here Nov. 16-18 to review the health and safety programs in the district, then take that information back to Sweden to be analyzed.
The RRVSC is aiming to have the WHO endorsement by the year 2000.