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Safe Kids Forsyth holds first event
Brittney Hall, 3, receives a "junior deputy" pin from Forsyth County Sheriff's Deputy Courtney Spriggs, community outreach specialist, during the Safe Kids Forsyth safety day. - photo by Alyssa LaRenzie


An organization that promotes safety awareness for children held its first public event in Forsyth County over the weekend.

During the Safe Kids Forsyth safety day on Saturday, children explored the world of law enforcement and firefighting, and they also received advice on how to stay safe.

"It helps kids be more comfortable around firefighters and police," said Forsyth County Sheriff's Deputy Courtney Spriggs.

"Essentially, we are strangers, but we're good strangers. We're here to help them."

The safety event was the first for the coalition, which formed in February as the local chapter of Safe Kids Georgia.

By spreading safety awareness, the group aims to prevent accidents, which it states are the leading cause of death in children ages 1 to 14.

Saturday's family event was the first community fundraiser for Safe Kids, which operates off grants and donations.

The money collected, as well as a percent of that day's proceeds from Lucci's Little Italy restaurant, will go toward the purchase of helmets, life jackets and car seats for distribution to the community.

Spriggs said the free safety day drew a good turnout from a supportive community.

Families picked up some good tips, too, especially about pools, riding bikes and other summer activities.

David Stark said he and wife Sarah brought their son, Oliver, to learn about safety.

While the 2-year-old sat in a patrol car, David Stark joked, "Let's hope that's the only time you're in that back seat."

Their son seemed to most enjoy seeing the patrol cars and horses.

"He got a big kick out of it," Sarah Stark said.

Children also enjoyed going inside the fire truck and the newest vehicle for the sheriff's office, the 2010 Lenco Bearcat 2639.

The mobile command center for the SWAT team may have drawn more interest from adults, though.

After peeking out from the hatch of the Bearcat, Stefanie Christensen said the large black truck, which the agency added in November, is "pretty intimidating."

Deputy Josh Bell said authorities wanted to bring the vehicle to familiarize people with it and answer any questions they may have.

"We don't want people to be terrified, especially the kids," Bell said.