Safety City - Swimming - Putnam Sentinel
Over 500 Putnam County Kindergartners rotated through four Safety Stations during Safety City 2019. Including Swimming. (Putnam Sentinel/Steven Coburn-Griffis)

OTTAWA – It was a question nearly every kindergarten student answered incorrectly. Should you jump into water to save a drowning person? All shook their heads yes, wanting to help a friend.

“No, you should never jump into the water to try to save a drowning person,” said Sergeant Brad Nelson with the Putnam County Sheriff’s Office. He was one of many volunteers who took part in Putnam County Safety City held last week at the Putnam County Fairgrounds. Safety City is a miniature city set up for young children to learn the importance of safety. It was started in 2000 as a hands-on teaching program. Sgt. Nelson taught this lesson to 45 groups that totaled 582 kindergarten students from Putnam County schools. He told the students a drowning person panics and could drown them too. Sgt. Nelson said only people like lifeguards, who are trained to help drowning people should jump into the water. Instead, Sgt. Nelson gave other clues on how to help the person, like throwing them a lifesaver or noodle.

Sgt. Nelson was teaching at the water safety part of the city. In addition, children learned about railroad, pedestrian, seatbelt and bike safety. They also learned about “Stranger Danger.”

Students were taught rules about trains and railroad tracks. Then as they waited in line they had to cross a “railroad track” set up with a miniature train coming down the tracks blowing its horn.

In the Merchant’s Building students learned how to cross a road and understand lights. Then they took turns being pedestrians and also getting into miniature cars to drive the roads

At the other end of the building bicycles, helmets and red cones were used as students practiced what they had been taught.

The Putnam County Task Force and Putnam County Educational Service Center sponsor this program. Putnam County Sheriff’s Office, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Local Police Department and other volunteers assist in making this a reality for the children of Putnam County.