Safely preparing for a safe school year


SIDNEY — As another school year rapidly approaches, Sidney Fire Chief Chad Hollinger wants to address several topics to make Sidney and Shelby County a safer community.

“With the start of school, buses and children walking to school will soon be on the streets during the early mornings and afternoons. Additionally, athletic practices and competitions are taking place. With some increased awareness and preparation; we can help our schools and students have a safe and enjoyable return to the school year,” Hollinger said.

In regards to buses and students walking to school, Hollinger says that motorists need to anticipate their presence. Especially during the early morning hours, motorists need to be attentive to the presence of students walking to school. Drivers should avoid distractions and remain vigilant of their surroundings. Be prepared to stop suddenly if a young person would enter the roadway unexpectedly.

Hollinger added that school buses will also be rejoining motorists on the streets, and urges that motorists be vigilant and patient when following or approaching a school bus. If a school bus driver has activated their warning signals, slow down and be prepared to stop.

“As students and drivers are getting back in to the school routine, be patient as a driver. Leave early and allow additional time for your morning commute. This will help you to avoid frustration and aggressive driving,” Hollinger said.

With athletic practices and conditioning well underway for fall sports, Hollinger says that it is critical that student athletes remain hydrated, rested, and take in appropriate nutrition, especially during the remaining heat of summer.

“Hydration is the single most important element on that list. Proper hydration allows our bodies to perform well during the rigors of practice and conditioning during the higher temperatures and humidity that we experience this time of year,” Hollinger said.

When a student athlete’s body is deprived of proper hydration, Hollinger says their performance suffers and serious medical conditions can result. Dehydration can quickly progress to heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

To prevent heat related illnesses, student athletes should maintain proper hydration. This is achieved by consuming sufficient volumes of water, sports drinks containing electrolytes and some juices. Avoid caffeinated drinks as caffeine contributes to dehydration. Additionally, athletes need at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night as well as a well-balanced diet.

“Coaches and trainers are taught techniques to address heat related illness during practices and conditioning, but proper preparation is superior to anything the staff can do for student athletes during the practice and conditioning environment,” Hollinger said.

Hollinger added that the Sidney Department of Fire and Emergency Services partners with the local schools to provide emergency medical care during certain events and competitions.

“We have enjoyed collaboration and cooperation with the administrators, school and coaching staffs, and athletic trainers as we work collectively to keep our students safe and healthy. I ask that the community assist us in this endeavor as the school year approaches. Together, we can keep our community safe and achieve our department’s mission to serve and protect the community by preventing the loss of life and property. I wish all the best to our Jackets, Cavaliers, and Eagles as they return for a great school year,” Hollinger said.

By Blythe Alspaugh

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The Sidney Daily News conducts a periodic interview to update readers with news from the Sidney Fire and Emergency Services Department, 222 W. Poplar St., Sidney.

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