WHEELING - Students entering the sixth grade in Ohio County Schools this fall are learning a variety of safety and leadership skills during the annual Wheeling Junior Police & Fire Academy, held at Bridge Street Middle School in Elm Grove this week.
The Wheeling police and fire departments teamed up with Ohio County Schools to offer the free program, which deals with a variety of safety topics involving biking, swimming, hiking, fire safety, first aid, CPR, Internet safety and cell phones.
"We provide the students a week-long opportunity to go over some leadership skills and some safety skills," said police Sgt. Don Miller. "So all of those age-appropriate topics we address with the kids ... and we try to make it a fun, safety-filled week where the kids learn about some good quality topics.
Photos by Scott McCloskey
Assistant Fire Chief Jim Blazier provides a demonstration of equipment used on one of the department’s paramedic units during the Wheeling Junior Police & Fire Academy at Bridge Street Middle School in Elm Grove on Monday.
"We wanted to make that transition from fifth grade into middle school a little bit easier," said Miller.
He said all of the students who enrolled in the program have already gone through Ohio County Schools' fifth-grade Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.
Miller added it will give the participants a chance to meet students from other schools.
"All of these kids are familiar with the resource officers because we taught them D.A.R.E.," he added.
Newly appointed Police Chief Robert Schwertfeger and Fire Chief Larry Helms both attended a brief introduction ceremony held in the school cafeteria Monday. Assistant Fire Chief Jim Blazier provided a demonstration of equipment used on one of the department's paramedic units as well as classroom instruction.
Miller said students will be provided with a free breakfast and lunch each day of the program.