Scary experience inspires ambulance lesson

KIRKLAND — Cub Scout Pack 82 visited the Kirkland Fire Department for a recent pack meeting. However, instead of learning about the big red fire trucks, the focus was on the ambulances and what emergency medical technicians and paramedics do.

“There was an incident a few months earlier where the 2-year-old brother of one of our Scouts fell down some stairs and needed emergency medical attention,” said Cubmaster Steve Sarver. “It turned out that the 2-year-old was OK, but the Cub Scout was really distraught to see his little brother in a cervical collar and really did not know what all went on inside the ambulance. It struck me that boys know what fire trucks are, but while the boys of my generation grew up watching emergency rescue shows on TV, in today’s society this is rarely the case.”

The pack contacted the fire department, which set up a tour of the ambulance and gave demonstrations of some of the equipment used in emergencies such as splints, backboards, and oxygen. The boys then had hands-on opportunities to be strapped to a backboard, wear a vacuum splint, and work with a mannekin to establish an airway. They also got to make their own personal first aid kit.

“There were a lot of questions such as what is an EMT, what is a paramedic, and so on,” Sarver said. “In most cases this was the first time the boys were exposed to first aid situations. We wanted to give them the message that they can make a difference. No matter what a person’s age, size, etc., the action they take may save a person’s life.”

But the most effective part of the evening was totally unplanned. By coincidence, an ambulance call came in, and the boys got to witness firsthand how fast paramedics got their equipment together and headed out with lights and sirens.

“The Kirkland Fire Department was extremely helpful in helping us put together the event,” Sarver said. “Everybody learned something.”

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