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Fourth-graders putting finishing touches on safety posters

March 15, 2002|BY MARLO BARNHART

A lot of Washington County fourth-graders are busy putting the finishing touches on their entries in the Home Chemical Safety Week poster contest.

The winners will be announced at 10:30 a.m. during Tuesday's meeting of the Washington County Board of Commissioners.

Home Chemical Safety Week is March 17-23 this year, said Verna Brown, chairwoman of the educational committee of the Washington County Local Emergency Planning Committee.

Currently, the home chemical safety curriculum that the LEPC has developed for Washington County Public Schools was offered for fourth-graders at Salem Avenue, Hickory and Boonsboro elementary schools in February, Brown said.

A video was produced locally with grant money provided by the Maryland Emergency Management Agency. The LEPC is responsible for the collection of information on chemical use, storage and release in Washington County.

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"And this year we have accomplished the writing and printing of the home chemical safety guide book," Brown said.

She said she also was proud that three additional businesses have joined the ranks to help support this project - Yogi Bear Campground, Borders and Steffey and Findlay.

The 15 semifinalists will be at the commission meeting Tuesday, along with their principals and families. Top winners will receive their prizes at that time and all will be treated to lunch at McDonald's, Brown said.

Brown said the program taught in the schools 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 Washington County Special Operations 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.

With the start of spring, the LEPC is encouraging everyone to be careful in the handling of chemicals around the house, yard and motor vehicles, Brown said.

Plans are in the works to expand the home chemical safety curriculum into additional schools.

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