Staff of the Cobb Safety Education Center will welcome the first students of the school year next week. Fourth grade students from Davis and Addison Elementary will take part in the county's safety education program. Opened in August 2009, the safety education center and safety village have improved the quality and effectiveness of our school children's safety education. Prior to the Safety Village, students in kindergarten, second and fourth grade relied on firefighters visiting their classroom to present safety information. Now, with the addition of the village, students are exposed to far more lifesaving education. The curriculum has expanded to include topics such as: stranger danger, gun safety, home safety, pedestrian safety, bicycle safety, pool and water safety, electrical safety and bus safety. Students' exposure to important information from police officers has increased by 98 percent. The safety education provided at the village also adds to the personal impact on students by providing a "hands-on" experience, which is shown to increase learning and retention of information. One of the most meaningful measurements of the fire and safety education is the number of lives saved. Cobb County began fire safety education in 1978 and, despite our population more than doubling, the number of fire-related deaths have been cut in half.
33 (eight deaths in one structure fire in 2000)
The Cobb Safety Village has also helped increase the efficiency for our safety education instructors. Before the village opened, fire safety personnel had to travel to every Cobb County school and 56 instructors were using overtime to meet safety goals. Now, fewer staffing hours are required and overtime has been reduced by 31 percent. Travel expenses for instructors has also been reduced by about $12,000. One of the most popular features at the safety education center is a scaled-down village for students to apply the new skills they have learned. The mini-village is built and maintained through donations and grants and is overseen by the Safety Village Foundation, a nonprofit organization. In fiscal year 2010, about 20,000 local students completed the program and the program now includes students from the City of Marietta School System, private schools and home school groups.