Scouts sample careers in rescue, emergencies

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Reflecting changing times, Boy Scouts worked for their emergency preparedness merit badges and pins at the 2003 Rescue-Ree at the Cape Girardeau Elks Lodge.

About 150 Scouts from Cape Girardeau, Scott, Bollinger and Perry counties attended the training, which concludes today.

"In light of the heightened awareness since 9-11, this gives Scouts the opportunity to sample potential careers in rescue and disaster or as informed volunteers," said Eugene Simpson, Troop 2 Scoutmaster and an organizer of the event. "Organizations supporting the event can motivate future leaders."

Scouts attended 10 stations -- motor vehicle emergencies, hazardous materials, water rescue, the American Red Cross, ropes and lines, miscellaneous emergencies, search and rescue, first aid, weather emergencies and the smokehouse.

"I'm having a lot of fun at this," said James Schoonover, a 15-year-old Scout from Troop 155 in Perryville who wants to be a conservation agent. "It's better than the camporee. I really like that these people who come to our rescue in an emergency volunteer their time to do this ... it's admirable. I may want to do this in my life."

Volunteer members of Osage Beach Search and Rescue explained their use of ground, horse, dog and ham radio techniques.

"I don't think there's another team that employs the use of all four methods in Missouri," said canine handler Steve Dougan.

The team explained that dogs used for tracking, trailing and air scent are most effective at night and early morning because the scent is on the ground. As air heats up and rises, it's harder for their noses to grab it.

What to do when lost

Scouts were advised that staying put increased their chances of being rescued if they got lost. Digging your feet in the ground and breaking tree branches were also suggested to serve as clues for rescuers.

Canine handler Shelley Dougan said, "When you're lost and scared that causes your body to produce a scent that dogs can pick up on."

One station, motor vehicle emergencies, showcased the miniature Jaws of Life, new to the Scott City Fire Department. A crew took a door off in minutes, demonstrated how to break out a window in the event of door jams and used the mini jaw to spread the space between the dashboard and a potential victim by about 5 inches.

Joe Layton, 14, has been in Scouting since first grade. "This is better than the camporee," he said. "More hands-on and not boring. I've always thought about firefighting. This makes me think of it more."

cpagano@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 133

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