N.C. Campers Get Taste of Fire, EMS Work

June 21, 2013
A bucket brigade challenged youths at the annual McDowell EMS Safety Camp.

June 20--On Wednesday, warm weather and clear skies made the perfect setting for the second day of McDowell EMS Safety Camp.

For the fourth year in a row, students from across McDowellCounty participated in bucket brigades, practiced their aim with a fire hose and learned important lessons about safety.

Director of EMS Will Kehler said the camp has drawn a sizable crowd.

"We have 80 campers participating in this year's camp," said Kehler. "So far, everything has gone really well. Yesterday we had a little rain, but most of our activities are indoors during the first day anyway. Today the kids will be participating in more hands-on and outdoor based activities."

Camper Luke Condrey was more than up for the challenge presented at the bucket brigade station.

"I'll be filler," said Condrey, before grabbing a bucket and positioning himself in front of the oversized water tank. "We need to work fast in order to fill our barrel up."

Condrey worked like crazy to win the challenge, but unfortunately for him his team couldn't beat Quinton Ledford's squad in the event.

"Guys, we have to move this water," said Ledford as the challenge moved into its final stage. "We're almost there. We just have to keep moving."

While kids were hard at work at the bucket brigade station, others were learning the importance of recognizing the symptoms of a stroke and what action to take.

"The kids have learned about the signs of a stroke," said Mission Stroke Outreach Coordinator Danielle Martin. "To reinforce the things they've learned, we've created a relay-type race where kids run to a large pool of miniature foam brains and find three stroke risk factors. Then they bring it back and we talk about why they chose those factors."

The three-day camp is designed to help kids realize what different emergency response agencies do and what they can do to help others in a crisis.

"On the first day, kids learned CPR and today they're going to learn how to put out a fire using a simulated fire and fire extinguisher," said Kehler. "CrestviewVeterinaryHospital also volunteered to come in and talk to kids about pet safety and what they can do to ensure that their animals are safe during the summer months."

At the pet safety station, youngster Colby Presnell was one of the lucky students who got to practice wrapping the leg of Barkley the dog.

"I hope I'm not doing this too tight," said Presnell, while getting help from Crestview worker Kathy England.

England and veterinarian Kathy Campbell spoke to kids about the dos and don'ts of pet safety.

"Heat stroke in animals is something we've discussed today," said Campbell. "We've also talked about other problems that pets have and why it's important to always be cautious around strange animals."

Safety camp will finish today, with kids participating in a hose maze and listening to a safety briefing.

Kehler stated that this year's camp wouldn't have been possible without help from the 25 agencies involved and the camps coordinators EMS Sgt. Johnsie Parker, EMS Sgt. Nicole Alexander and Paramedic Daniel White.

"Everyone has really come together to make this possible," said Kehler. "They've really created a great learning tool for our campers."

Copyright 2013 - The McDowell News, Marion, N.C.

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