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Camp 911 Combines Fun Education

Vail Daily

The following article was printed in the Vail Daily onThursday July 12 2012.

The seat-belt convincer was living up to its name - showinglocal kids the potential dangers in even a 5 mph crash.

Colorado State Patrol troopers brought the convincer to AvonWednesday as part of Camp 911 an annual day camp for kids with adifferent kind of educational purpose.

"We started the camp because kids between 9 and 11 are juststarting to do things without adult supervision" said Cathy Dulacof the Eagle County Ambulance District. "We show them how to handleemergencies without adults around and how to take charge in anemergency."

The camp involves virtually every emergency service agency inthe valley. Kids break into small groups and go from station tostation learning about topics from seat-belt use to what to tell a911 dispatcher to how to help a friend in the water who's introuble.

Kids at the camp usually get fire-extinguisher training toobut given the fire danger this summer they learned instead some ofthe principles of "Ready Set Go" a program that helps residentslearn about the do's and don'ts of getting out of the house in caseof emergency.

While the camp helps kids be a bit more self-sufficient thefirst step in any emergency for just about anyone is making thatcall to 911.

Dispatchers used to ask "What is your emergency?" In fact theCamp 911 T-shirts still bear that message. But with most peoplerelying on cell phones one of the first questions a dispatcherwill ask is "where are you?"

"We're teaching kids to be aware of their surroundings - whatstreet they're on the name of the building they're in" Dulacsaid.

Other lessons involved both basic first aid and more advancedlessons courtesy of Lynn Blake's Starting Hearts program. The kidslearned how to run an automated external defibrillator and thebasics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

In the Avon Elementary School gym Avon police officers weretalking to kids about using the Internet and more personal kinds ofself defense.

"The coolest thing I learned was how to defend yourself" saidLily Shapcotte 11 who described a "hammer fist" punch to the handof someone trying to grab you and the shin-kick in which anassailant gets both a kick and a scrape down the leg.

"And then you run!" Shapcotte said.

Out back near the seat-belt convincer Eagle County Sheriff'sDeputy Tad Degan and Kim Greene of Vail Valley Medical Center weretalking about bicycle safety and the importance of helmets.

Several honeydew melons met a grisly end in the demonstrationsas they were dropped to the ground while belted into a helmet thenplopped on the pavement with no protection.

With every drop the melon developed another soft spot - whichwould be another brain injury if the melons were heads.

To demonstrate the effects of a good shot to the noggin Greenehad a pair of "concussion goggles." Kids would put on the gogglesthen try to walk a straight line and pick up a duck-egg-sizedfoam-rubber brain on the ground. It was tricky duty and made acouple of adults slightly nauseous.

Greene had another ally in her pitch for helmets - volunteerCraig Kosko who told the kids about the pair of concussions he'dhad while skiing.

"They're listening" Kosko said. "And they're asking goodquestions."

The kids also learned the basics of bike safety from checkingyour tires before you ride to the proper hand signals and theimportance of following safety laws. They also learned that anyoneage 10 or older can get a ticket. Running a stop sign will dingyour allowance for a cool $125.

"That's something you should know about" Emma Blakslee saidquickly adding she's not much of a bike rider.

At lunch sisters Mia and Claire Carroll both said they'd reallybeen interested in the first aid demonstrations and ambulance tourput on by the ambulance crew.

"I really liked learning how to help" Claire said.

"We might have a couple of new employees here" Dulac said.