15 schools made their way to County Hall to pick up their Cork County Council Safety Awareness Flag Award. Cork County Council was the first local authority to introduce a Safety Awareness Flag as part of a water safety education drive aimed at primary school level. Since its launch in 2015, the programme has expanded to cover Farm and Road safety and 204 flags have been awarded to schools, libraries and leisure centres throughout the County.
Nationally, 109 lives were lost to drowning in 2017. Over the last decade 30 children have been lost in drowning accidents, equivalent to a classroom of children. Between 2008 and 2017, children accounted for 11% of all fatalities in farm related accidents nationally. Furthermore, 11 pedestrians were fatally injured on Cork roads.
With 19% of the country’s coastline as well as more inland waterways than any other county, Cork County Council’s Safety Awareness Flag programme was initially concerned with Water Safety. Building on the success of the project and the level of engagement from schools throughout the County, Road and Farm Safety became essential parts of the programme.
The programme uses a Peer Learning Model which involves the older classes in the schools taking ownership of the programme and teaching the younger classes all about Water, Road and Farm safety. This is done through activities involving story books, board games, card games, activity handbooks & colouring sheets provided by Cork County Council. This spreads the message throughout participating schools and embeds its safety awareness in the culture of the school.
Speaking at the event, Cork County Council’s Water and Road Safety Development Officer, Caroline Casey, noted the importance of education around water together with road and farm safety, “All three are interlinked and extremely important. The message sticks because we engage all students and encourage fun interaction with safety. We have 423 Primary Schools across County Cork and aim to have some information with an education drive around child safety in every school, either through a visit or with learning resources.”
Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr Patrick Gerard Murphy was on hand to present each school with their Safety Flags and noted the positive effects of such initiatives, “I must commend all involved in promoting safety but most especially the children who are so enthusiastic and willing to learn. Every school here has truly deserved their award and the presentations were a delight to see. I have complete confidence that these children will lead the way in reducing the number of farm, road and water safety incidents long into the future. Cork County Council’s Safety education programmes are exemplary and I’m immensely proud of everyone involved.”
The following schools were in attendance:
1. Cloyne Primary School
2. Farran Primary School
3. Barryroe Primary School
4. Crossmahon Primary School
5. Ballygarvan Primary School
6. Rylane Primary School
7. Bunscoil Na Toirbhirte, Mitchelstown
8. Gaelscoil Mhuscari, Blarney
9. Dromleigh Primary School
10. Scoil Barra Naofa, Monkstown
11. Baltidaniel Primary School
12. Ballygiblin Primary School
13. Meelin Primary School
14. Midleton Educate Together Primary School
15. Darra Primary School