OPERATION SAFETY: Promoting Safety Education to D&G Children

Making the children of Dumfries and Galloway safer through role play and activities.


Operation Safety is a successful and established annual event promoting safety education to all primary 7 children within Dumfries and Galloway.  DGWGO was invited along to see what it was all about!

The event gives the children the opportunity to experience various situations and hazards which they may face in real life. During these scenarios, the children are encouraged to interact in the most appropriate way under the guidance of the various agencies involved.

I got to watch in on several of these , the first being taken by Jason Gardiner Community Fire Officer. The scenario was electrical and fire safety in the home. The children were shown a room, which had many safety situations in it, including wiring faults, water next to electrics, hair straighteners being left lying on a bed, litter by an electric fire, tangled wires, to name just a few.

The group of kids I was with were all from Sanquhar and Hollywood primary Schools, and they seemed to really enjoy taking part and getting stuck into sorting out the problems! They were a really bright bunch and answered every question they were asked by Jason , with real energy, and they listened intensely to what they were being told!

I also got to see the two outside classes being run by the Dumfries and Galloway wildlife rangers and Forestry Commission , and the Fire Service .The first of these was an safety obstacle course , and the winning school in the whole region was going to win a wonderful trophy !

The other outdoor class was taken by Fire Officer Isobel Torbet , and was all about outdoor water safety , and the kids really seemed to enjoy this one , acting out role play, saving each other safely from a loch or river, with ropes and basically what ever was lying around nearby .

The liveliest room and group I watched was being ran by Paramedic Ali Donowho from the D&G Ambulance Service . In this situation the kids had to study an incident where somebody had had an accident while decorating in the home. They learned all about how to check the situation was safe , before they tried to help . They also learned to communicate , and take care! But the main thing they learned was how to check the victim was breathing , by following Ali’s ABC rule,  Air, Breathing and Circulation! They all practised how to put somebody into the recovery position , and maybe one day one of these kids might be in a situation where the things they learned today, may actually save a life,  it may even be yours!

The final group I got to follow was ran by Community Nurse Pamela Dougan, the class was all about the effects of underage drinking ! I was blown away by just how wise these 10/11 year old kids are compared to when I was their age!

Things, and issues, have changed so much for modern kids compared to back in the 70’s when I grew up ! It really was a very interesting and eye opening day , and I was very impressed by the whole thing! Although the big attraction in this class was the beer goggles , which gave the kids some idea of what it looks like to see after a few too many tipples!

The afternoon was drawn to a close with a debrief when all 70 kids taking part today were in one group , and each person that ran a session asked them questions in what they had learned ! And they seemed to of learned a lot , as hands were being raised all over the room as the kids all wanted to answer the questions!

The final lesson before home time was a spectacular chip pan fire!  Fire officer Isobel Torbet showed the whole group that water is not the correct way to put out a chip pan fire, and with the huge flames and heat , Lots wow’s and screams coming from the group , I don’t think it’s a lesson they will ever forget!

This year’s East of the region event took place at the Glencairn, Ettrick and Nithsdale building at the Crichton from Monday 24 September until Friday 11 October 2012 with approximately 1,100 primary 7 pupils attending over the course of the event.

There are up to eleven different sessions running:

  • Fire Service Safety Room – fire safety in the home, can you spot all the hazards?
  • Internet safety
  • Bullying
  • Ambulance Service – someone is lying on the floor, what would you do to help them?
  • Water safety – someone is on the water, how can we rescue them?
  • How to make 999 calls
  • Scottish Power – play the Scottish Power game and see if you can win!
  • Take the Forestry Commission Scotland and Dumfries and Galloway Countryside Team obstacle course
  • Smoking Matters – learn some horrible facts about what smoking does to you!
  • Chip Pan Demonstration – see the dangers of a chip pan on fire
  • Civil resilience – how to cope in the event of a major weather event

The agencies who are involved in this year’s event include; the Scottish Ambulance Service, Police Scotland, Scottish Power, Smoking Matters, Forestry Commission Scotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council Countryside Services and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

The Operation Safety Team would like to thank the NHS Estate and Property Services for their help in providing the venue and also to the generous sponsors whose contributions have allowed this year’s event to go ahead.

Mike Aldersey, Watch Manager Fire Safety, from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said that, “this fun, interactive event will help young people to be better prepared to deal with emergency situations and avoid placing themselves in danger.

And I must admit after spending several hours at the event , I can see how it really was showing the kids in a safe way , just how dangerous things can be! A real lesson in common sense . A credit to all the services involved ! I’m very sure all the children that get to take part in Operation Safety over the next few days will never forget the experience and what they learn.


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