War Amps raising awareness about dangers

Dave Mathieson
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War Amps Playsafe administrator, Kelly Rankin, talked to kids about the dangers they encounter every day and how to avoid them.

AMHERST – They say cats have nine lives but, unfortunately, kids have only one. “They’re just curious,” said Kelly Rankin, who gave a War Amps Playsafe presentation Monday and Tuesday at four local elementary schools.

Rankin was at Spring Street Academy yesterday afternoon, and asked the kids gathered in the gymnasium to imagine dangers in their neighborhood or dangers they encounter when visiting friends and relatives in the countryside.

Items kids said were dangerous around the house and in Amherst include: knives, stoves, lighters, toasters, blenders, lawnmowers, and construction sites, while trains and chainsaws were considered very dangerous items found in the country.

Rankin’s presentation is part of a national War Amps campaign that, along with local police forces and the RCMP, brings awareness to kids across Canada.

“As part of the war amps we know what it’s like to be amputees,” added Rankin, who has a prosthetic right arm. “We have a special approach to our safety message and we know what it can be like to lose a limb, and we want the kids to spot the danger, so they don’t get hurt and lose a limb or, worse, lose their life.”

Rankins said a lot of young boys and girls have a hard time recognizing potential dangers because they see them all the time, and she encouraged them to play, ‘I spy with my little eye,’ at home so they can learn where to play and where not to play.”

Every year kids lose limbs from accidents and Rankin showed a video that featured kids who have lost limbs.

Before the video she said to the students, “It’s not to scare you but it will show you what happens if you don’t follow the safety rules.”

While in Amherst Rankin heard of kids who have reached out to touch a moving train and heard from a teacher who said they had a farm safety day and kids were talking about how their parents took the guards off of a piece of equipment because it wasted too much time.

“They don’t realize how dangerous and lethal these things can be,” said Rankin.

Rankin was impressed with how much the kids knew about War Amps.

“They seem to have awareness of the key tag program,” she said. “At every school they told me how it works.”

Started in 1946, the key tag program is War Amps sole source of funding.

“There’s a nine-digit code on each key tag that’s registered to one person, and when you attach it to your keys it acts as a safeguard,” said Rankin. “So if you lose your keys and somebody found them they can call the 1-800 number on the back or just drop them in the mail box and they’ll go back to War Amps and we’ll look up the number and send the keys to the owner.”

War Amps will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2018.

Rankin said anybody interested in ordering key tags can go to http://www.waramps.ca/home.html or call at 1-800-250-3030.


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