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‘Escape School’ to teach Hillsdale children how to avoid, flee abductors

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A nationally acclaimed program that teaches youngsters how to avoid or flee from child abductors is coming to Hillsdale. Some of its tips are included here.

Dignity Memorial Escape School® will present its program free for youngsters ages 6 to 15 at the George White Middle School (120 Magnolia Ave.) at 7 p.m. May 21.

Using children from the audience in play-acting situations, local instructors Ardelle & Martin Kasdan will discuss how to tell the difference between good and bad strangers, the common lures abductors use, how to “get away, right away,” and how to find help immediately.

The bottom line: Be smart, not scared.

“Remember, there are no rules,” according to a program coloring book available for download here: Dignity Memorial Escape School

“You can kick, scream or do ANYTHING if you are in danger,” it says. “GO CRAZY.”

Dignity Escape School also strives to get children to understand that adults shouldn’t be judged by how they look but, rather, by what they do.

“In fact, a ‘stranger’ may be the person [who] will help you in a potentially dangerous situation,” the brochure says.

Among the tips that will be offered:

Not being fooled by someone in a car or on foot who stops to ask for help;

Running in the opposite direction a car is being driven if the driver persists in talking to you;

Rotating your arm in the “windmill technique” to break free from a grip;

Running to an area of public safety, such as a police station, firehouse, local business — or a bus.

Children will also be taught “the Velcro technique” (“DON’T LET GO!”) when trying to get a helpful adult’s attention in a dangerous situation, as well as how to use a button to disable an ignition switch.

The instructors will also go deeper — telling children, for example, how to pull out the taillight wires if they’re locked in the trunk or how to grab car keys and discard them while running away.

“A taillightthat won’t work might make police notice and stop the car,” the brochure says. “When the car stops, scream for help.”

The presentation even includes what to do if you’re trapped in a locked house. You can flash the lights, hoping to draw police attention, or flush towels, socks or rags in the toilet to cause an overflow.

Parents get sound advice, as well.

One suggestion is to get your child an I.D. bracelet and engrave the gave of it with a phone number and the word, “REWARD.” Teach your child to drop or throw it along the path if they’ve been abducted.

Another is to teach your child how car windows and headlights work, as well as how to fog a window and write “HELP” backwards from inside.

Hillsdale Police Officer Liz Zimmerman helped coordinate the program for the borough along with Gutterman and Musicant Jewish Funeral Directors and Becker Funeral Home.

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