A group photo with fire officers and Summer Safety Programme participants.

The 17th Annual Summer Safety Programme concluded Friday, as approximately 450 children in St. Kitts and Nevis graduated at a closing ceremony held at the Basseterre Fire Station.

“I urge you to go back to your homes, your schools, and your respective communities and prevent fires and save lives by imparting to your friends and families the life saving techniques and skills that you have learnt over the past week,” Divisional Fire Officer Garfield Hodge said, calling the programme a “huge success.”

The five-day programme, designed to teach fire and other areas of safety to 5- to 12-year-olds, was run simultaneously at the Basseterre Fire Station, the Edgar T. Morris Primary School in Tabernacle, and the primary school in Sandy Point for children in the rural areas. Participants in Nevis attended the programme one week earlier at the Jessups Community Centre.

The theme of this year’s programme was “Building a Safer Tomorrow by Preparing Our Children Today.”

Osmond Petty, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, said that the Summer Safety Programme has been a useful tool for promoting responsible behaviour among children, noting the number of fires started by children has been drastically reduced with no reports recorded over the past seven years.The permanent secretary also applauded the inclusion of topics such as disaster preparedness and crime and violence prevention.

“Safety is not just a one-sided affair,” Mr. Petty stated. “You can be safe by your efforts in your home by not lighting fires. You can be safe by crossing the street and taking appropriate care but if during the passage of a hurricane you do not obey your parents, you do not obey the personnel from NEMA who give directions then your safety is not complete. … If you associate with wrong people during your normal day and you do not pay attention to issues that involve reducing crime in our communities then your safety is not complete.”