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Safe Kids Vermont Arrives In Addison County... Two Vergennes Area Rescue Squad Members Start Local Chapter

photo by Mike Cameron

Tuesday December 4, 2007

By Mike Cameron

    Beth Bearor and Chuck Welch know about keeping kids safe.  They are both members of the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad and have both treated children injured in serious accidents.      

    Even more important is their knowledge from personal experience in the Rescue Service of children who have lost their lives in accidents that could have been prevented.

    Both Bearor and Welch are pro-active professionals who feel strongly about volunteering their time to keep people safe especially children and to assist in saving lives when called upon.

    As trained Emergency Medical Technicians and co-workers, Beth and Chuck decided to form a coalition sperate from and yet working in conjunction with VARS and other rescue organizations in Addison County to help keep kids safe.  

    Their efforts have resulted in The Addison County Chapter of  Kids Safe Vermont. The chapter officially   began locally in September of 2007.

    Bearor and Welch together explain the concept. With both being EMT’s they “see plenty of pediatric injuries throughout the year.  Since 2003 Chuck and I have been going to classes, doing presentations and collaborating with experts to help increase pediatric injury prevention and awareness efforts in our area,” Bearor explains.

    The local chapter is part of a world wide effort who's mission is “to prevent accidental childhood injury, a leading killer of children 14 and under,” according to the Safe Kids Worldwide website.  

    For example in data gleaned by Bearor’s research; in 2004 a startling seventeen children died each day from May1st to August 31st as the result of accidental injuries.  

    The total for the summer of 2004 was a sobering 2,143 children's lives lost as the result of accidents.
2.4 million children were treated in emergency rooms the same year.  Though these children did not die, many of them were left with life long disabilities including paralysis and brain damage.  

    The goal of these two VARS EMT’s is to reduce these disturbing numbers across the board through prevention education and making safety equipment available to more infants and  children than ever before.  They  both have had extensive specialized training, they both have treated numerous pediatric injuries throughout their years of service and they both are committed to the safety of Addison Counties Kids through their
new Safe Kids Vermont chapter.

    The purchase of a new trailer with help from VARS in the form of a loan will allow them to consolidate their efforts with bike safety, car seat fittings and educational seminars.  

    In 2006 they found funding and  bought 350 kids bike helmets.  After fitting the kids properly they gave them the helmets free of charge.

   The project was repeated a short time later with 350 more helmets given away thus allowing 700 local children a better opportunity to ride their bikes more safely.

    Now instead of using several vehicle trips to transport their materials to safety events, Bearor and Welch have a roomy Timber Wolf contractor’s trailer to haul everything necessary all in one-fell-swoop.  It will give them the opportunity to help more kids and their families more often and more efficiently.  Now Safe Kids Vermont has its own delivery vehicle and will soon be lettered and decaled with a unique children and family friendly motif.  

    Welch is excited about the possibilities.  “We can help alot of kids and families with this and prevent serious injuries or worse.  The organization has high standards and we as a local chapter are committed to those standards.  The biggest part of the Addison County Chapter is their car seat program which is overseen by the Governor’s Hyway Safety Program.  “Twice each month we host an open car seat inspection for parents, grandparents, guardians or whoever to stop by and get their car seats checked for free.  It takes approximately thirty minutes,” Beth Bearor explained.

    In 2006 they inspected 107 car seats and so far in 2007 they have inspected almost 100.

    Nationally an 80 to 90% misuse rate of child safety seats is a frightening number.  Bearor and Welch are determined to put a positive dent in that number as well.  But with all efforts like the ones they have dedicated themselves to Beth Bearor and Chuck Welch know that funding is the key to their success and they are continuing their efforts for financial assistance.

    We at the Voice encourage our readers to join with us in helping to fund this new and important project.  All donations will be gratefully accepted and your tax deductible contributions we believe  will prove to be an excellent investment in the safety and wellness of children here in Addison County.
E-mail [email protected]
Mailing  Address VARS
P.O. Box 11 , Vergennes, VT 05491
 Telephone 1-802-877-3683

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