Safe on their own

Class teaches kids the basics of what to do when home alone

"As long as you are prepared and know how to handle a situation, things will be OK."

-- Staci Firi

“As long as you are prepared and know how to handle a situation, things will be OK.”

— Staci Firi

Instructor Staci Firi fixes her gaze on the room filled with 8- to 11-year-olds.

Like most in that age group would, they are starting to get fidgety toward the end of the nearly 2-hour “Safe on My Own” class.

However, Firi is skilled at keeping their attention by asking questions which require critical thinking skills.

“We have talked about first aid,” she said. “Now, is a scraped up knee an emergency and should you call 911?”

Although the uniform response was an empathetic, “No,” students thought of some pretty creative situations.

“It could be scraped so badly it’s spurting blood and won’t stop!” said one.

“Or it could be really far down your leg and need stitches,” offered another child.

Firi steered the conversation back to the basics of first aid and what constitutes an emergency.

“As long as you are prepared and know how to handle a situation, things will be OK,” she said. “This class will also give you a great opportunity to talk to your parents about your family rules.”

Firi, the community education director for La Center schools, has been teaching the Camas class for the past five years.

“I like the safety aspects of this class and the fact that we go over several scenarios that might happen when they are home alone,” she said. “Sometimes, we don’t talk about these things at home. If there is one thing I hope the kids learn, it is to not open the door to anyone, period.”

Firi noted that each class is unique in what the students want to focus on. Some are very fearful of fire. For others, stranger danger tops the list. Others are scared of potential burglars.

“Safe on My Own,” uses American Red Cross curriculum and touches on first aid, phone safety, internet safety, coming home, responsibilities, walking home and when to call 911.

“When they leave this class, I want them to feel comfortable,” Firi said. “I love the kids and enjoy listening to their stories.”

Benjamin, a sixth-grader at Liberty Middle School, occasionally stays home alone.

“I thought this class would have good information to know,” he said. “I wanted to know how to best take care of myself.”

Devin, a fifth-grader at Prune Hill Elementary, has been staying home alone since school began in September.

“My parents wanted me to take this class,” he said. “Now I’ve learned what to do if someone tries to break in.”

For more information on the next class, visit www.camascommunityed.org.

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