Fort Hood Sentinel
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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 23, 2014  03:19:35 PM

DES providing personal safety tips for kids

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December 16, 2010 | News
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In this file photo, meeting crime dog McGruff on Safety Day elicited mixed emotions from Janae Beverly and Chanelle Vizcaya, both students in the Strong Beginnings class sponsored by the Fort Hood Child Development Center. Michael Heckman, Sentinel Staff
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Fort Hood’s Directorate of Emergency Services wants to reach out to the military community in light of recent incidents involving child abductions in Killeen and suspicious individuals attempting to pick up children on post.

“I have put together the following tips that my School-based Law Enforcement officers will begin sharing at all nine (Fort Hood) schools,” Capt. Jonathan Caylor, Community Police supervisor, said. “We are also sharing these tips at town halls to ensure wide dissemination of information.”

For children (the rules):

• Always tell your parents where you are.

• Try not to walk anywhere alone.

• If a stranger follows you or grabs for you, yell loud and make as much noise as you can.

• Tell your parents about places you don’t feel safe.

• Talk with your parents and come up with a secret code word.

• If someone other than a parent comes to pick you up unexpectedly, this person needs to know the “code word” before you leave with him or her.

• Bad people do not always look mean or scary. Do not get close to strangers.

• Do not tell your name or address to a stranger.

• Never go with a stranger to look for a lost pet.

• Never get into a car with anyone you don’t know. If they don’t know your code word, don’t get in the car with them.

• Never enter someone’s home without a parent.

• If you have to ask for help from a stranger, if possible seek help from a police officer or teacher.

• If you have to go to a home for help, ask them to bring a phone outside to you. DO NOT go in their home.

If someone tries to grab you:

• Your voice is your primary weapon – remember that the last thing the bad guy wants is a fuss. Screaming ANYTHING halts the attack in many cases, or at least buys you a couple of seconds to get away. If you carry a personal alarm or whistle, use it.

• Run toward other people. If there are other people nearby, run to them.

• If there is a lighted business or home, run to it. You are attracting attention which will likely cause the attacker to leave the area.

• Know safe places you can go such as Police or Fire Stations, stores with lots of people, churches, and community centers.

Stranger danger at home:

• Doors should NEVER be opened when you are home alone.

• Talk with your parents and prepare a list of people who may be let in.

• If someone you don’t recognize persists, won’t go away, or tries to force an entry, immediately call 911.

• Tour your house with your parents so you are familiar with all entry/exit points, and identify hiding places should someone make entry to the house.

• Make sure you are familiar with how to lock/unlock all doors, windows, and garage doors.

• Never tell anyone on the phone you are home alone.

For parents:

• Take your child on a tour of the housing area they will be living in.

• Map out and allow your child to explain to you the quickest way home from school. Walk with them from time-to-time.

• Make sure your children follow this route with no deviations unless they get your permission first.

• Know who your child walks to and from school with.

• The secret password is an important element of protecting your children from danger because once in a while something may come up where someone else may have to pick up your children.

• Abductors often trick children into going with them quietly. Teach your kids that adults should ask for help from adults, not children.

• Abductors have tricked kids into going with them by offering candy, toys, saying that their puppy is lost, or asking the child if they want to see a baby animal or if they can give them directions. If an adult is asking for help, they should say “No!” and run away to tell a safe grownup.

• Be aware that talking about these things can frighten your children, but knowing how to act will help protect them. Be sure to talk to them in a calm tone.

• The most important thing we can do to protect our children is to communicate and teach them how best to protect themselves.

Discuss with your children:

• What is a stranger? (A person that you and your parents do not know.)

• How might a stranger try to fool you into getting into their car? (By telling you that your parents couldn’t come so he/she was sent to give you a ride home.)

• How can you protect yourself? (By asking the person to give you the family’s secret code word.)

• If a stranger stops their car near you and asks for directions, what should you do? (Stand at a good distance from the car, even if they ask you to come closer.)

DES will be conducting personal safety classes in every Fort Hood school in the coming weeks. The following classes are already scheduled.

Dec. 16:

Meadows at 8 and 8:45 a.m. (850 children)

Montague at 1:15 and 2 p.m. (600 children)

Jan. 5:

Duncan at 8:30 and 9 a.m. (600 children)

Venable at 1:30 and 2 p.m. (500 children)

Report any suspicious activity to local law enforcement officials.
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