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Annual safety fair arms kids with knowledge before summer break
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Phillip Mayo, Jamie Kerce and Daniel Ramos prepare, while Sammy Fields, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers volunteer, and Kevin Gross, a state ranger in the law enforcement division at the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, simulate turbulence, during the Safe Kids program at Flowery Branch Elementary on Thursday, April 30, 2015. Gross taught the kids how to properly put on life jackets and rescue friends who may have fallen in the water. - photo by Erin O. Smith

It was a harrowing 15 seconds for four Flowery Branch Elementary students, as they struggled to get life jackets on while saving a drowning peer in a rickety boat.

Fortunately, the boat was on dry land and the drowning student was really just waving her arms around while standing on concrete.

“If someone is drowning or they don’t have a life jacket on, then you can tell them to put a life jacket on,” student Jada Ellingham, 9, explained. “You don’t ever go out and save someone if you’re a kid. Just tell an adult.”

Jada and her fellow students were taking part in the annual Safe Kids safety fair, Thursday at Flowery Branch Elementary. The program continues today for students at Centennial Arts Academy in Gainesville.

“Obviously in warmer weather, (children) are going to be outside more, around pools, lakes, riding their bikes,” said Kim Martin, coordinator of Safe Kids Gainesville/Hall County, a program led through Northeast Georgia Medical Center. “We want to arm them with these messages so hopefully they’ll make good choices.”

Along with the water safety demonstration, second- and third-grade students learned a variety of lessons including the importance of buckling their seat belts and what to do in the event of a fire.

There was even a lesson on head injuries and the importance of wearing a helmet during activities like riding a bike. All participating students received a properly fitted helmet.

“Broken bones, abrasions, all those kinds of things can be fixed,” Martin said. “But a brain injury, most likely, does not fix itself. Kids can have lifelong disabilities.”

The event, now in its 19th year, was held just in time for summer break for the students, which Martin said those in the medical profession have nicknamed “trauma season.”

“That’s when our injuries are at their highest,” she said. “Kids are out and about going places, on vacation, doing things and a lot of times those kids are not as supervised as they are during the school year.

“We just want to give them the messages, and we hope they’ll make some good choices this summer and prevent injuries.”