Minn. Safety Camp Teaches Kids First Responder Skills
July 13—After she showed campers the state-of-the-art equipment in her ambulance, Gold Cross paramedic Kathleen Lamont gave them a box of common household items.
Many items can be used in a pinch to aid an injured person until she or another first-responder arrives, she explained.
A spatula, hairbrush or other long and firm object can be used to make a splint, she told attendees of the South Central Minnesota Safety Camp. And a belt, phone charger cord or shoelace can be a temporary tourniquet.
Lamont and many other first-responders, educators and other volunteers came together Thursday morning in the North Mankato Fire Station to host the camp teaching safety tools to over 50 area youths entering fourth through seventh grades.
Now in its 29th year, a committee of firefighters, police officers, county health workers and citizen volunteers plan the camp. Many more volunteer to help lead the camp activities, said committee leader Lisa Alitz.
Lamont led the introduction to first aid.
"Is a broken bone going to kill you first or the blood?" she quizzed one group of students.
"The blood," the campers responded confidently.
"That's right. The blood. We've got to stop it," Lamont said.
Camper Megan Lawver, 10, said she was most surprised to learn that "you can use almost anything to make a splint."
Grace MacPherson, 12, said she was most surprised that up to three patients can fit into an ambulance if other ambulances aren't available.
On the other side of the garage that normally houses fire trucks, campers pedaled a go-kart around cones.
Scott Reiten, a volunteer with the Toward Zero Deaths campaign, talked with campers about the dangers of drunken driving. They then took turns trying to navigate an obstacle course wearing a pair of goggles that simulate the viewpoint of an intoxicated person.
"Your vision got really blurry and was swerving all over the place," said 11-year-old Matthew Arndt.
"I kept getting stuck on the cones. It was hard," said 9-year-old Lola Jones.
In another room of the fire house, North Mankato Police detective Brian Gangelhoff encouraged campers to wear their seat belts and not drive while distracted.
"So many of the accidents I respond to are because they were on the phone or otherwise distracted," he said. "So it's very important to stay focused while you're driving."
Outside, volunteers from the Greater Mankato Bike and Walk Advocates had brought a trailer of bicycles and provided a bicycle safety lesson.
A volunteer of Kato CrossFit talked to campers about the importance of physical activities, gave them a few tips on how he stays safe while he's working out and showed them how to do a CrossFit exercise called a burpee.
After a lunch break campers chose two of five workshops offered in fire, campfire, personal, animal and firearm safety.
The camp concluded with visitors from the Nicollet County Sheriff's Office, including demonstrations from Unite, the department's K-9, and of the agency's new drone used to locate missing people and fleeing suspects.