Victoria Winder, Program Director and Chief Safety Ranger of the Auburn Bay Safety Ranger Program, tells her story about children's safety and hazard reduction in Auburn Bay.
I designed the Auburn Bay Safety Ranger Program whilst working as a Safety Coordinator in my current role. I realized that as well as teaching workers how to identify hazards around them, teaching our patrons about everyday hazards was equally as important.
Reviewing, processing and investigating incidents reported in our facility brought to light just some of the everyday dangers families in the community are exposed to. I, therefore, made it my objective to create an easy, accessible way to get the community working together and to spark those safety conversations in the household.
I also realized that communities have diverse, different experiences, cultures, different perceptions of hazards. Being a new Canadian myself, originally moving over from the UK in 2013, I personally had to accustom myself to new hazards, and pass this learning onto my children. For instance, understanding the road hazards and rules in Canada, being around lakes and storm ponds, and who to call in an emergency, is just a few of them.
I decided to design a booklet that would be a compilation of various safety topics and hazardous activities children are exposed to. The program was designed to launch in June. The workbook consists of at least 3 activities the children worked on at home each month over a three month period; work would then be photographed and submitted via email to me (the Chief Safety Ranger).
Thanks to the Alberta Traffic Safety Fund (ATSF), during the remainder of the year I would organize ad-hoc events for the children and was able to provide them with safety swag as detailed below.
We are so happy that we were able to utilize the grant funds to benefit so many children and parents in our community. The program was a huge success and was implemented as planned.
Using the grant funds, we were able to provide safety ranger participants with many exciting opportunities and items.
- On the eve of Halloween, we arranged a Halloween safety show performed by "Christopher Cool." He was able to focus on road safety when trick or treating, stranger danger, checking candy for suspicious items and always taking a flashlight to make yourself visible to others. We also provided safety rangers and their siblings with reflective armbands to make them visible to drivers. This event was a great success!
- We also managed to get P.A.D.I.S (Poison and Drug Information Service) on board. They volunteered to come into our facility and host a workshop for our safety rangers and their families.
- Children submitted excellent road safety activities they had completed at home; for example, how to fit your bike helmet correctly and understanding the danger zones around vehicles. It was great to see all the family getting involved.
- In November, we held a graduation party and rangers were given a kryptonite green Bell Span multisport safety helmet and a lime green T-shirt fitted with the "Alberta" and "Safety Ranger" logo. The hospitality part of the grant enabled us to have custom cupcakes made for our graduation event, which of course was well received by the kids.
- We were able to arrange for "Two Wheeled View" to host two workshops at our facility. During the workshop, families listened about road safety/bicycle safety, including how to make sure their bikes are safe to ride before they start their trip. Children/siblings and parents were then able to work on bicycles brought in by the facilitator and learn how to check/repair brakes, fix punctures, and change inner tubes.
The activities submitted by the children are evidence that road safety conversations were sparked in the household. Families worked together testing helmet sizes, looking for blind spots around their personal vehicles, identifying road hazards in the community, and genuinely showing an interest to learn.
The ATSF grant also enabled us to extend hazard awareness and protection in our community by donating 20 reflective armbands to the “walking school bus”. One morning when driving to work, I noticed that the convoy of children was not wearing anything reflective and was often extremely hard to see in the dark, when I arrived at work I immediately called the principal and arranged to drop off 20 reflective armbands later that afternoon. The school was extremely grateful for this. The following morning on my usual route into work, I was delighted to see multiple reflective armbands visible from a distance. This was definitely a success!
I thought I would take a moment to pass on my sincere thanks for the program set up by you for the children of Auburn Bay. [...] I have two young grandsons in the program ages 4 – 6 years, they talk about being a ranger with pride. We appreciate all the program has offered our little guys [...]. The subjects covered have truly been beneficial and presented in child friendly way making learning a positive experience for each of them.
- Grandparent of two Safety Rangers
Thank you so much for all your hard work. My children are super excited; every program you run fills them with new skills and important knowledge. I am excited to find out what else lies ahead for us, it just keeps getting better and better. A mind-blowing program we are so lucky to be a part of! Thanks again you are truly amazing.
- Parent of a Safety Ranger