Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stay Safe During Spring Break

The arrival of spring break means more kids are out of school and families have more time to recreate together and enjoy the outdoors.

That’s why the Collier County Sheriff’s Office is reminding residents and visitors how to stay safe while on the roads, at the beach or on a boat or a bike in the Southwest Florida sunshine.

Spring break for students in Collier County public schools is March 21-25.

As usual the kids will flock to the beaches during the day so our coverage of those areas will be increased.

Along the beach line is of obvious concern as are the residential areas where children live, as many will be unsupervised during the day. CCSO will have additional deputies in the North Naples beach areas. In addition, we will be stepping up foot patrols in all of our districts, with a focus on residential areas and places that teens tend to concentrate such as shopping malls, movie theaters, fast food restaurants, etc.

CCSO has several activities planned for kids during spring break. The focus will be providing fun activities in a safe environment while engaging kids in positive relationships with law enforcement:

CCSO’s Junior Deputy Day at the Collier County Fairgrounds is March 19. More t han 2,500 Collier fourth-graders will take part in the annual event, which treats youngsters to an entire morning at the fair followed by lunch. The children will be chaperoned by CCSO youth relations deputies and other CCSO members.

All Collier County fifth-grade students are invited to “camp out’ over spring break at the CCSO Junior Deputy Camp, scheduled for March 21 to March 24 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Each elementary school will be given a designated day and location.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office also offers these tips for staying safe:
* If you’re traveling by car, always buckle up. Florida law requires front-seat passengers to wear a seat belt. In addition, all passengers under 18 years old must wear a seat belt or be otherwise restrained by a child car seat.
* It’s also important to avoid distractions. Activities like eating, drinking and talking on a cell phone or text-messaging while driving can take your attention off the road.

* Always have enough life jackets for everyone on board.
* Always have a designated boat operator who is not consuming alcohol. It is unlawful to have a blood alcohol level above 0.08 while operating a boat.
* It’s also important to follow all boating laws and watch out for swimmers and other vessels. And always let someone back on land know where you’ll be boating and what time to expect your return.

* Don’t bring anything you would hate to lose such as expensive jewelry.
* Don’t leave valuables such cell phones, cameras or iPods unattended.
* Always lock your car doors and stow valuables out of sight.

* Check your tires, brakes and chain before you go for a ride.
* Always wear a helmet and make sure it's fastened.
* Obey the rules of the road. Bikers must stop at stop signs and traffic signals and indicate when they're turning, just like drivers.
* Remember to lock your bike and keep it in a safe place when you're not riding it.

It’s not just outdoors where parents need to worry about their child’s safety over spring break. Kids can face dangers without ever leaving their home if they spend any time online, where predators and bullies can lurk.
* Never give out your real name, where you live, where you go to school or other personal information over the Internet.
* Don’t agree to meet anyone you’ve talked to online.
* Protect passwords.
* Communicate responsibly.

If you’re younger than 21 and your spring break plans include spirits like alcohol, consider this: Underage drinking is against the law.
* In Florida, anyone under the age of 21 is prohibited from possessing alcohol. Those under 21 are also prohibited from purchasing or attempting to purchase alcoholic beverages.
* Florida law also prohibits furnishing those who are below the legal drinking age with alcohol. Commercial servers such as bars, restaurants, stores and non-commercial servers may not furnish alcohol to those who are under 21.