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SAFE program a hit with school children
The popular SAFE (Safety Awareness Field Education) multi-agency program has been running in Victoria’s North West region since 2004, delivering safety education sessions to children in grades 3 and 4.
The CFA-coordinated program is designed to run in a single location over several days and offers students five different interactive 35-minute information sessions, run by participating agencies.
CFA Community Education Coordinator for North West Region Kevin Sleep said the program is a fantastic education tool that has reached over 30,000 school children.
“The SAFE program has been very successful and was started out of a need to better deliver safety education to school children,” Kevin said.
“Several emergency service agencies were looking to visit schools so we thought it’d be a great opportunity to bring the schools to the agencies.”
Kevin said another great benefit of the program was the opportunity to build partnerships with the other agencies involved, with over 45 agencies involved since the first event in 2004.
“Over the years, we’ve had a whole range of presenters and agencies take part: Victoria Police, SES, ESTA, DEWLP, Life Saving Victoria and Ambulance Victoria to name a few. We’ve even had emergency service helicopters attend.
“It’s been a very positive program. It takes a fair bit of work to organise but it’s a great way to provide safety education to children as well as strengthening inter-agency partnerships.
“Our first event was held at Bendigo showgrounds with 1200 kids and unfortunately it was a 40-degree day. Ambulance Victoria came down a couple of times throughout the day to check on the children and were very impressed by the event. As a result, they started taking part in future SAFE program events.”
CFA plans to run one session in each of the four North West districts within the next 12 months.