Event teaches sixth-graders about ways to stay safe

Herald/DAVID MORRIS - K-9 officer Lando soaks up the attention of sixth graders from Audie Murphy Middle School following a drug awareness session at the safety camp Tuesday.

By Justin Cox

Killeen Daily Herald

On Tuesday, more than 900 screaming sixth-graders welcomed one of the more recognizable figures in Central Texas.

It wasn't Hannah Montana or Emmitt Smith. It was KWTX Channel 10's head weatherman Rusty Garrett.

Garrett gave a presentation called Project Tornado to 913 sixth-graders from Liberty Hill, Nolan, Manor and Audie Murphy middle schools as part of Progressive Agriculture Safety Day.

From 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, 11 safety experts from the Temple and Harker Heights police and fire departments spoke about fire trucks, disability awareness, kitchen and food safety, firearm safety, methamphetamine awareness, lawn equipment safety, chemical safety and first aid and water safety.

The principal event organizer was Jill Decker of the Bell County Extension office. Decker said east Bell County students received a similar presentation last week at the Bell County Expo Center in Belton.

"This event promotes safety for students targeting the sixth grade because these are kids just going out into the community," Decker said. "They teach kids things such as how to get out of their home during a fire, what to do if someone is hurt, call 911, talk about kitchen safety so if they're cooking, they know what to do to stay safe and don't get hurt."

Decker said all safety concerns are practical in nature, even ones such as gun safety, since more kids are being exposed to guns at an early age.

"We have police officers here from Harker Heights who are promoting gun safety, since these kids are exposed to guns in their communities, guns in their homes, and some, unfortunately, are exposed to guns in their schools," Decker said.

Some Central Texas Narcotics Task Force members informed children about the dangers of drugs, particularly methamphetamine.

Contact Justin Cox at jcox@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7568.

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