Submitted by Clark Judge, KAA.
Quick, now, a show of hands by everyone who knows how to respond when there’s an emergency and you must dial 911.
Someone? Anyone? Well, then, you have company.
Eight girls from Girl Scout Brownie Troop 60529 – all third-graders at the Killingworth Elementary School – didn’t know, either. But they do now, thanks to a 35-minute primer given Wednesday afternoon by the Killingworth Ambulance Association’s Lisa Anderson at Parmelee Farm.
Anderson was the ideal instructor. First, she’s a former Girl Scout herself. Second, she instructed prior classes on emergency responses. Third, she’s a friend of one of the Troop’s co-leaders, Morgan Nairn, who asked if she could help the girls earn first-aid badges. And, fourth, between California and Killingworth she’s been an EMT the past 20 years.
So she’s experienced. She’s knowledgeable. And she was available.
“I enjoy teaching people in town,” said Anderson, “especially the kids, so they know what we do at the Ambulance Association, how we help our neighbors and how we help our townspeople.”
But this was the first time Anderson taught Girl Scouts. Her previous sessions were with the Boy Scouts where she was joined by the KAA’s Pat Miller and Dan Siegel. Furthermore, the events were held at the KAA’s Route 81 headquarters, where she could use an ambulance for demonstrations.
But COVID restrictions necessitated moving Wednesday’s class outdoors to the Parmelee pavilion, without an ambulance and with her audience covered by protective face masks.
No problem. The message got through.
“I feel like I covered my bases,” Anderson said, “but I’m a hands-on person. If I can get in the back of the truck (ambulance) and let the kids touch something like the equipment or the radio, it’s a good learning experience.”
So was this.
The program was divided into three parts: First, with Anderson talking about the KAA, its EMTs and how they respond to emergencies; then, with instruction on how to make 911 calls; and, finally, teaching the Brownies – plus Nairn and Troop co-leader Jen Catalano — how to use first-aid kits that included hand sanitizers, Band-Aids, gauze, hair ties, alcohol treatment and gloves.
Most of the instruction, however, centered on 911 calls. Anderson posed as a dispatcher, answering make-believe calls from five volunteers. Together, they went through a variety of imaginary emergencies, with Anderson asking her callers for their names, ages, the nature of the emergencies, the site of the emergencies and the conditions of the patients.
All followed the script and were sufficiently engaged that they asked follow-up questions:
“When you take someone to the hospital do you pass cars?”
“Is there a school where you go to become an EMT?”
“Is there an age when you have to stop because you’re too old?”
“What do you do if you don’t have a phone?”
In the end, it was mission accomplished. The girls earned their first-aid badges and, more important, learned how to respond to emergency situations.
“It was very knowledgeable for the girls,” said Nairn. “Lisa did an amazing job teaching the girls basic first aid and what to do while calling 911 during an emergency.”
Photo provided by KAA.