Kids Play and Learn at Children's Village's Alive Fest
05/13/2011
Herald-Mail

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Children were reminded Saturday what happens when things go wrong when a house burns, when a car crashes, when authorities need to catch a fugitive or find contraband.

They also learned how to take precautions, such as having detailed information on file in case someone goes missing.

And they had fun driving miniature cars, watching firefighters at work.

The motorized cars were a big hit at the 20th annual Kids Alive Fest at Children's Village of Washington County.

Tiheen Matthews, 6, took a turn, as did his 4-year-old brother, Tayshon.

Megan and Kevin Chamberlin of Hagerstown watched their daughters Aubrey, 6, and Anna, 3, behind the wheel.

"This is a great facility," Kevin Chamberlin said, carrying his 7-month-old son, Trevor, in a sling on his chest. "It's unbelievable."

Aubrey said she learned "Stop, Drop, Roll," the quick reaction for someone whose clothing catches fire.

Also, stay low to the ground when there's smoke, she said.

The burned-house exhibit at Children's Village has visual lessons about the effects of fire. Signs on a wall show the temperature inside during a fire 80 degrees near the floor and getting hotter as you get higher 200, 400, 600 and finally 1,000 degrees near the ceiling.

If there's a fire, call 911 to report it, Tiheen Matthews said.

Children got to practice at one outdoor booth. They picked up a pretend phone and typed in 911. A recorded message asked them questions, such as what happened, their name and their address.

During Kids Alive Fest, Children's Village offered some of the same lessons it gives children throughout the year escaping, preventing and planning for a fire.

Children's Village, on Mount Aetna Road in Hagerstown, is a not-for-profit organization that also teaches other types of safety, such as in the water and on bicycles.

"Anything to help them be safe in their everyday life," Executive Director Rochelle Morrell said.

All second-grade students in Washington County go through Children's Village's fire and personal safety program.

On Saturday, the Maryland Division of Correction did demonstrations in which its K-9s caught a fugitive and detected drugs.

The Maugansville Goodwill Volunteer Fire Co. used tools to remove the windshield and doors from a Chevrolet Cavalier, showing how firefighters sometimes have to extricate someone after a crash.

The Maryland Child Identification Program, sponsored by the Masonic lodges of Maryland, compiled thorough records of children for safekeeping.

Patty Shirley, a regional coordinator for the program, said they filled out a vital information sheet for each child. They took digital fingerprints, a digital photo and a digital video, as well as a DNA sample.

Everything is burned onto a CD for their parents.

"Statistics show that updated information is the most important way to get the information out if something happens to your child," Shirley said.