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3601 C Street, Suite 722
Anchorage, AK 99503


Helmet Safety Program:
Snow Machines & ATV

Youth ATV Safety Event


  1. Does your child have an ATV helmet?
  2. Do you require your child to wear a helmet?
  3. Do you think your child is ready to operate an ATV?
    1. Independent
    2. With Supervision
    3. Not Ready to Operate
  4. Name three safety hazards in ATV use.
  5. Name three pieces of protective clothing or equipment.
  6. Name three things you should do in preparing to ride an ATV.
  7. Who is responsible for maintaining the ATV your child rides?
  8. What do you want to learn from this workshop?


  1. Does your child have an ATV helmet?
  2. Will you require your child to wear a helmet when riding an ATV?
  3. What is the ATV operating level of your child?
    1. Independent
    2. With Supervision
    3. Not Ready to Operate
  4. Name three safety hazards in ATV use.
  5. Name three pieces of protective clothing or equipment.
  6. Name three things you should do in preparing to ride an ATV.
  7. Who is responsible for maintaining the ATV your child rides?
  8. What have you learned at this workshop

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Use your head, ATV safety
By Nikki Polk
Nome Nugget, Oct. 3, 2002

An important issue on the rise today is ATV safety. People hear about another accident each week. Injuries, even fatalities, continue to threaten youth in Alaska. Everyone must start taking notice of this raising concern.

Youth in villages are at a disadvantage due to their lack of knowledge on safety issues. Instead of riding an ATV for off-road recreation, village youth ride them as a way of life. The Nome Community Center’s Bering Strait Community Partnership is beginning to offer ATV safety classes in the villages. With a grant from the 4-H Community ATV Safety program, the NCC was able to purchase 100 new ATV helmets. Five different villages will be awarded 20 of these helmets. In order for a village to receive the helmets, they must submit a copy of their city motor vehicle ordinance that states helmets must be worn within the village limits. Once the ordinances have been submitted, then the selection process begins. An original deadline was set for August 1, but has now been extended to January 1. This extension will give interested villages more time to communicate and pass the necessary ordinance.

The first village to receive 20 free helmets with their ATV safety class was Brevig Mission. The class occurred on September 25 from 7-9 p.m. in the Brevig School. With the help of the Brevig Village Based Counselor office, 31 young people participated in the class. The curriculum encompasses visual as well as written skills. Instead of preaching to youth on the proper way to drive an ATV, the class focuses on safety issues that affect this region and what they can do to prevent dangerous situations. Helmet safety is the number one concern addressed in the class. Other safety issues that are addressed are: drug and alcohol abuse, speed limits, dressing properly, finding an ATV that fits your size, survival skills and all around safe riding conditions. If you would like to see an ATV safety class in your village, contact Nikki Polk at the Bering Strait Community Partnership, 443-5888.

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Youth Snowmobile Safety Awareness Event

Program Overview:

In Alaska snowmobile injuries hospitalized more than a 100 youth 0-19 years of age during a three a 3 year. In the Kenai Peninsula as in Alaska statewide, off road vehicle injuries are in the top four leading cause of injury hospitalization for youth 0-19 years of age.

This one-day program targets caregivers/parents and their children Snowmobile use implies certain responsibilities. Who should use a sno-go? Which machine is age and size appropriate? Where can snowmobiles be ridden? How and when to ride snowmobiles safely? Multi media methods include lectures, handouts, videos, displays, and an emphasis on hands on demonstrations of skills and appropriate one-to-one work. This program's design is for use by volunteers who are concerned about their children and their community.

The program seeks to increase the awareness of dangers and responsibilities in snowmobile use. Note that the American Academy of Pediatrics believes that “ Snowmobiles continue to pose a significant risk to children younger than 15 years and adolescents and young adults 15 through 24 years of age. Head injuries remain the leading cause of mortality and serious morbidity, arising largely from snowmobilers colliding, falling, or overturning during operation.”

Program objectives

After completion of the program parents/caregivers will better able to:

  • Judge if the youth is physical ready to ride/drive a snowmobile
  • Judge if the youth is psychologically ready to ride/drive a snowmobile
  • Judge if the parent is able to provide the supervision for the youth to ride/drive a Snowmobile

Parents and youth will know:

  • The parts and function of snowmobile
  • The proper gear to wear with a snowmobile
  • How to operate a snowmobile more safety
  • What safety equipment they need before they operate a snowmobile
  • 90% plus of the participating youth will wear a well fitted, “cool,” DOT approved snowmobile helmet

Parents and youth will:

  • Know the appropriate choices for different environmental conditions
  • Be able to make better choices on safety with a snowmobile
  • Know the “ Winter Recreation Code of Ethics”

Optional: Parents and youth will know how to avoid risks and basic rescue methods in Avalanches

Needed: Parents and youth will be able to make better choices around water hazards on a snowmobile

Program outcome:

  • Lower the number of hospital admissions for snowmobile related injuries.
  • Parents will be better informed if snowmobiles are a good choice at this time for their child.
  • Increase helmet use
  • More fun


There are many sources for this program description. It is modeled on the program developed by the KENAI SAFE KIDS Coalition (KSK). Specifically the hard work and creativity of Jane Fellman, Dena Cunningham, Laurie Lingafelt, with support of Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers, Snowmen Snowmobile Clubs, A-1 Enterprises, State of AK Dept of Natural Resources, the Children Safety Network, and Safe Rider Corporation.

Workshop Planning:

Date: No one can promise snow but an appropriate season date increases the likelihood of sufficient snow. A weekend date that is not a holiday increases attendance.

Time: A program that runs from 9:00 AM-noon for children 5-9 years of age and from 1:00 to 4:00 PM for those 10-14 years of age works well. This splits the participants into two more manageable cohorts. Volunteers will be expected to be there by 8:00 AM and should be able to leave by 5:00 PM.

Location: Is it accessible, affordable, and available? Are there sufficient phones, bathrooms, space and security? Is it clean, safe, well lit, with sufficient parking? Is there room for the lecture sections and a large area for the hands on practice. Is there a place to set up registration and to store coats and equipment. Is there audio video equipment. Is it safe. Is it safe. Is it safe?

The Kenai SAFE KIDS Coalition (KSK) used a middle school with a gym and a large fenced in playground. A gym may be too noisy to hear well. Classrooms, if available could be a better choice. The fenced in playground allows good security and safety

Food: Kids and (many adults run on food). A staff hospitality room is a must for planning and chilling out. You need and lots of pizza, coffee, drinks. Some healthy alternatives are nice. KSK was able to secure the local Parent Teacher and Student Association to conduct a fundraiser with chili, cookies, pretzels, apples drinks etc. They made money and kids didn’t whine.

Fees: Set fees on what you are going to need. Have change and a receipt book available.

Grant moneys from CHEMS, Alaska SAFE KIDS Coalition and support from local snowmobile clubs can reduce or eliminate fees. Local snowmobile dealerships can donate the use of snowmobile for demonstration purposes. In example, KSK was able to secure cool DOT approved helmets that normally sold for $80 each for only $40 a piece from a dealer. Then using grant money they were able to offer the helmets at $20 each. A good deal on full face helmet. The helmet fitting was a big draw at their event. KSK used grant money for custom T-shirts to identify and reward volunteers.


Local radio stations and newspaper articles help. The big expense is the ad announcing the event. Check the ad, then check it again. Then have someone else check the ad. The ad and PSAs should run the week before the event

The ad should include:
Name, purpose, age requirements, date, time, location, cost, what participants need to bring (specifically not a snowmobile), recommend appropriate dress for outdoor activities, Contact persons (two or more) and phone numbers


Six months out

  • Choose Coordinator and commit sponsoring organization to the event
  • Secure partnership with agencies like Community Schools
  • Select dates and look for appropriate facilities
  • Prepare budget and apply for grants and sponsors
  • Secure liability insurance

Five months out

  • Select facility
  • Draft marketing plan, letters of invitation, ad copy, information releases and other promotional materials
  • Develop mailing list including Public health nurses, local fraternal groups, and snowmobile clubs, snowmobile dealers, PTSAs, Pediatricians, fire and police agencies.
  • Develop budget
  • Confirm sources of revenue i.e. grants, sponsors, fees etc

Four months out:

  • Confirm Facility
  • Send letters of invitation
  • Order materials, such as brochures, posters, nametags, videos, helmets etc
  • Recruit volunteers

Three months out:

  • Begin to gather materials, confirm use of snowmobiles, safety equipment, signage, video equipment, nametags, food etc
  • Recruit volunteers

Two months out:

  • Continue to gather materials, use of snowmobiles, safety equipment, signage, video equipment, safety cones, do-not-cross tape, nametags, food etc
  • Recruit volunteers

One month out:

  • Continue to gather materials, use of snowmobiles, safety equipment, signage, video equipment, safety cones, do-not-cross tape, nametags, food etc
  • Confirm volunteers

During the week prior to the course:

  • Bring materials, snowmobiles, safety equipment, signage, video equipment, safety cones, do-not-cross tape, nametags food etc
  • Put packets of handouts together
  • Orientation for volunteers and speakers

The day before:

  • Set up for the event

The morning of the workshop:

  • Arrive at least an hour early
  • Finish setup include track, signage
  • Audiovisual setup, cords safely taped down


  • Clean up and store supplies
  • Write and send thank you notes
  • Read evaluations and start for next year
  • Complete grant reports and mail
  • Complete summary of event
  • Set up evaluation meeting and start for next year planning

Top of Page

Snowmobile Safety and Youth Program

The program begins with a registration table. Each parent and youth are given a packet of information and a nametag. Each participating youth must have a caregiver with him/her. The caregiver must sign a release of liability. Each participant carries a punch card with six stations. The younger 5-9 year olds came in from 9-noon and the 10-14 year olds participated from 1-4 PM.

After registration the participants walk from the entrance to first learning station. KSK has had a large response in the two previous events. A large group went to each of the six stations. In the 2002 workshop each station was duplicated. The group lined up and then admitted in smaller groups of ten each. Duplicate stations at each of the six sites. Two site #1, two site #2s etc. This kept the group small at each station. This also allows more flexibility and quicker movement. No participant should be at a station longer than fifteen minutes. This method is particular good with the younger youth with limited attention spans and for parents wanting immediate answers.

Registration: Caregiver must remain with youth and sign waiver

Station I — Is Your Youth Ready to Ride a Snowmobile?

Is your youth physically and psychologically ready? Are you able and ready to accept the supervision responsibilities? Not promotion but information on Snowmobiles

Station II — be prepared. Planning your trip
What to wear and what to bring *

Station III — Rules of the road
Show videoLegal Rider and Participants sign Safe Riders Pledge*

Station IV — Environmental conditions
Learn to dress right and how to prevent cold weather injuries, Plan your Trip be prepared for problems

Station V — Snowmobiles are Not Toys
Parts and Functions*, PreRide checklist

Station VI — Helmet fitting Station
At least three people fitting helmets at one time and a cashier. Full face DOT approved helmets at $20 each. A good deal and a good fit!

Optional Programs

Safety equipment table: Safety equipment at different price ranges. First aid kits, space blankets, shovels, glow tubes, hand warmers, beacon, probe, cell phone, spare key etc

Snowmobile Club sign up for Caribou Hills Cabin Hoppers

Iron on program of reflective material. See and be Seen.

Avalanche mini-workshop: This would make a good station on it’s own. Basic Avalanche 101. How to use probes, shovel analog and digital beacons. How to judge avalanche conditions. One hour optional course

Outdoor Training Course

Two tracks. One major for bigger machines and a second for smaller machines. The tracks should not connect. A walkway should parallel the track.

Each rider shows how:

  • Hand signals
  • Go & Stop & Go
  • Use the Kill switch
  • Python Turns


Complete evaluation form. Buy a hot pretzel or an apple and go home!