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Online game promotes safety

Michael Purvis

An online game launched Wednesday aims to teach kids how to deal with the dangers lurking in their homes and on city streets.

Kids got a first look at the game during a launch event at the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library.

“They seem to be quite involved in it, so at least it seems to be capturing their attention,” said Brian Curran, PUC CEO and president of the Sault Ste. Marie Safe Communities Partnership, which commissioned the game.

Curran said Safe Communities initially hoped to create a real life children’s safety village – a child-size town mockup that includes buildings, streets and rail crossings and is meant to teach kids how to safely make their way through their day-to-day environment. Several southern Ontario cities have them.

“We don’t have the population to support it, so we thought, let’s do a virtual safety village,” said Curran.

Ottawa game studio BlackCherry created the game, which is tailored specifically to kids in the Sault. The game’s outdoor portion includes billboards with local businesses and Safe Communities partners.

It’s meant for kids between 8 and 10, and includes lessons on electrical hazards in the home, fire hazards, chemical hazards, and dangers at rail crossings.

Curran said kids are some of the most vulnerable people in a community.

Lessons include not hanging clothes in front of heaters in the home, taking care not to fly kites around power lines, and not to enter electrical substations.

“They look attractive and very interesting, but you don’t go in there,” said Curran.

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