Safety is fun at Camp 911: Annual summer kids’ safety confab returns to Vail Valley |

Safety is fun at Camp 911: Annual summer kids’ safety confab returns to Vail Valley

EDWARDS — Kids will get banged up sometimes, but if they learn a little safety at events such as Camp 911, they might not get banged up as hard.

Eagle County’s emergency services agencies have hosted Camp 911 twice a year for 27 years, in June at the Gypsum Recreation Center and in July at Freedom Park in Edwards.

“This is a way to get kids involved with emergency services, so they understand the process,” said Kevin Creek, with Eagle County Paramedic Services.

Another big part is prevention and a little education. For example, Bobcat Smith, from Inyodo Martial Arts, teaches kids how to be aware of their surroundings so they can find a way out if someone grabs them. Law enforcement agencies usually bring some illegal drugs and paraphernalia, as well as marijuana edibles, so kids know what they’re looking at.

Fire restrictions stepped on a little of their fun Wednesday, July 11, in Freedom Park. Usually they’ll have a small fire in a metal pan and the kids get to shoot it with a fire extinguisher. But that would be an open flame and those are not allowed in Eagle County this summer.

The Seatbelt Convincer straps kids to a car seat and rolls them down a ramp at 3 mph. They hit the bottom and an airbag pops open. It demonstrates to kids that seatbelts are important.

“We show them the impact at 3 mph and compare it to real life when their parents are not driving around that slowly,” Colorado State Patrol Trooper Jessica Bruce said.

Helmets and skateboards and bikes, oh my

Helmets on bikes and skateboards are a big deal for obvious reasons.

You might ride with a broken arm, but not with a broken head, said Amber Barrett, with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.

“What’s the first thing you do when you get your bike out in the spring?” Barrett asked a group of kids.

Answers tended to break along gender lines.

“Wash it,” a couple of girls said.

“Peel out,” a few boys shouted.

Both are excellent answers, but you might start by making sure your bike is in proper working order, Barrett said. Check the brakes, the chain and everything else you can.

And wear a properly fitting helmet.

Once you’re on the road, you need to obey the rules of the road, Barrett said.

“If you don’t, you can get a ticket,” Barrett told her semi-stunned audience.

That is, you can get a ticket if you’re 10 years old or older. Younger than that, and your parents get the tickets.

Chances are, though, instead of a ticket, you’ll get a lesson about bicycle behavior, Barrett said.

Barrett ran the kids through a series of hand signals, to be displayed with their left arms, because their right hand must remain on the handlebar.

You do it that way, with those specific hands, because the left hand is on the front brake. Grabbing a fistful of front brake can send you flying over the handlebars and onto the asphalt.

Which would circle them back around to a properly fitting helmet and the reason they were at Camp 911 on Wednesday, July 11, in the first place.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and

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