The kids at Camp LifeSavers learned much more than the basic stop, drop and roll fire safety procedure, and they had fun doing it, too.
This year was the second time Hall County Fire Services sponsored the free one-day safety camp for area children. Twelve kids were at Tuesday’s session, which was aimed at kids in kindergarten through second grade. Another session will be held Thursday for third- to fifth-graders.
Fire services teamed up with other sectors of public safety like the Gainesville Police Department and the Department of Natural Resources to give kids a fun, well-rounded day of learning how to stay safe.
The police department taught the children about bike safety, and participants got a free bicycle helmet. The kids also learned about water safety, made a first-aid kit and learned how to test a smoke alarm.
"If they take one piece of safety information home to their parents, it’s well worth the effort," said Beverley Walker, a fire and life safety lieutenant and the creator of Camp LifeSavers.
But while the camp is intended to be a learning experience, the kids also get to decorate cookies and participate in relay races and scavenger hunts, among other activities.
"We got to spray a water hose on a fire truck," said Malachi Vance, 7, of his favorite part of the day.
Eli Burnett, 7, said he enjoyed drawing a picture of something poisonous, and he chose a scorpion.
There was also a bit of a rivalry between the boys and the girls at the camp.
The girls beat the boys at both the scavenger hunt and the relay race.
The boys hoped to make a comeback by outshining the girls with their construction paper fire truck decorating skills.
But 6-year-old Julia Kelly said she was confident the girls would sweep the boys in all events.
"We’re trying to beat the boys right now in coloring," she said.
Lt. Dax Lewis from the Hall County fire marshal’s office has been helping out at Camp LifeSavers since it started.
He said he enjoys it because of the impact he can have on a child’s life.
"There’s the chance of helping change some kid’s future," Lewis said, because in the case that a major disaster or accident happens, they will prepared.
"Hopefully this will prevent the event from ever happening in their lives," Lewis said.