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Hickory Elementary students learn about home chemical safety

March 15, 2001

Hickory Elementary students learn about home chemical safety



By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Seeing their principal decked out in an airtight spacesuit wowed students at Hickory Elementary School recently as they were introduced to the do's and don'ts of home chemical safety.

Archie van Norden served as a model for members of the Washington County Special Operation Team to show the youngsters how much caution must be taken when dealing with home chemicals.

"Home Chemical Safety Week is March 18-24," said Verna Brown, chairman of the educational committee of the Washington County Local Emergency Planning Committee.

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Incidents of home chemical accidents aren't unheard of in Washington County.

On Feb. 10, Sharpsburg Ambulance Co. personnel responded to a home on Sharpsburg Pike where a child had sprayed Lysol in the face of a sibling, according to 911 dispatchers.

No further details were available on that case, but incidents in which injuries occur when products were eaten or drunk by accident are not uncommon.

The home chemical safety curriculum that the LEPC has developed for Washington County public schools has been approved for the fourth grades at Salem Avenue, Hickory and Boonsboro elementary schools, Brown said.

A video was produced locally with grant money provided by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

Brown said the pilot program consists of three basic lessons: Understanding what chemicals are, identifying household materials that contain chemicals and handling them safely, and learning about safety equipment from the Special Ops team.

Chemicals such as paint, pesticides, drain cleaners and pool chemicals must be stored and used properly and no one is too young to learn that, Brown said.

The highlight of the coming week will be the announcement of the three grand prize winners of the Home Chemical Safety poster contest at Tuesday's meeting of the Washington County Commissioners.

Prizes are $200 for first, $125 for second and $100 for third place.

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