MARION COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Deputies at the Marion County Sheriff's Office held their first Eddie Eagle Gun Safe program for children at the county's Department of Mental Health Wednesday morning.
The program is just like the stop, drop and roll maneuver everyone learned in school. However, instead of fire safety, it's all about teaching kids gun safety.
Stop, don't touch, run away and tell a grown-up are the four key points Tammy Erwin, the Eddie Eagle instructor, said the gun safe program teaches children.
The program was created by the National Rifle Association and has been around for years, but this is the first time they've implemented the program in Marion County.
"We're seeing more and more guns in our communities so it's important that our children who may be in the same car as a weapon, they may find one in Target, there was a case for that; they need to know," Erwin said.
Just a little over a week ago, there was an incident in Myrtle Beach at the Ocean One Resort where a 4-year-old shot himself after getting a hold of a gun.
Erwin is also a parent. She said the unfortunate situation makes the program even more important.
"I have small children so my thought if they see a gun, would they know what to do?" Erwin said. "Children as young as 3 and 4 need to know if they see a gun, don't touch."
The program targets first through fourth graders, but is open to all ages. During the class, children learn the concept of safety through activities. They also watch an eight-minute animated video about what to do if they ever come across a gun.
"We make sure that the kids understand what safety is, what concepts we use day today for safety," Erwin said.
While Erwin admitted some parents are hesitant of the program because it's about guns, she believes with the help of Eddie Eagle and his wing team, more kids will stay safe and alive.
"If we can just keep one child safe from singing this little song from Eddie Eagle, I'll do it every day," Erwin said.
There's no cost for the program. Those who would like to schedule a gun safety class should contact the Marion County Sheriff's Office at (843) 423-8216.