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Girl Scouts get survival training with help from local fire departments

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Girl Scout Hailey Shrum of Scott City learns to hold a fire hose with firefighter John Canavan on Wednesday at Camp Sacajawea in Cape Girardeau.
(Elizabeth Dodd)
The next time Michaela Hester encounters a snake, she'll be ready.

Michaela, 13, of Delta, who suffered a snake bite when she was 5, spent Wednesday afternoon at Camp Sacajawea learning how to treat injuries if stranded in the wilderness without a first-aid kit.

She now knows that getting ice on a snakebite is the most important thing, she said.

"It's more than just sucking the venom out," Michaela said.

During the first day of Girl Scout survival training week, Girl Scouts from area troops began working on the skills they would need if they were ever lost in the woods or stranded in the wilderness, said camp director Jayne Tiehes.

The day's activities were assisted by volunteers from Cape Girardeau and East County fire departments, who went over first aid and survival training with the older groups of girls and basic fire safety with the younger ones.

In addition, the older Scouts work toward earning three interest project patches for their green sashes -- one for emergency preparedness, one for outdoor survival and one for camping, Tiehes said.

The girls have seven things they must accomplish to earn each of the three patches.

"We're teaching them how to rely on themselves and what's around them," Tiehes said.

After the training, Jessica Hester, 12, also of Delta, said she'll feel more prepared if she ever finds herself in an emergency situation or stranded in the wilderness.

"If I have a whistle, I'll blow it. If not, you can start a fire so that someone will see the smoke," Jessica said.

The girls also learned how to treat injuries if medical help was not immediately available.

"If you're up in the woods, and someone gets a hurt leg, you can use two sticks and wrap a bandage around it," Jessica said, describing a makeshift splint.

In one of the activities, the Scouts provided emergency care to adults with imaginary ailments.

Adults volunteers pretended to have taken a fall off a 10-foot cliff, suffered a head injury, a snakebite or and a broken leg, and the girls had to use the morning's training to figure out how to help them, said Katie Withers, 13, of Jackson.

Madison Hendricks, 11, of Jackson said that exercise was her favorite part of the training because she got to use real first aid supplies.

The younger girls preferred getting to practice using the real fire hose and feeling the spray when the high-pressure stream of water was shot straight up into air, showering them as it fell, said East County firefighter Debbie Maupin.

They were also taught what to do if they were ever lost in the woods: stay on a path and make a lot of noise to attract help, Maupin said.

"They had some tough questions for the guys," Maupin said.



<B>Were you there?

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Great experience for the girls, and a pretty funny story. So if your stranded in the wilderness and get bit trying to pet a snake, go to your wilderness ice supply to doctor your wound. It will also be helpful to cool off in the spray from a fire hose until help arrives. Good stuff to know.

-- Posted by blogbudsman on Thu, Jun 25, 2009, at 5:51 AM

Whatever they pay that fireman in the picture they should double it! As for the rest of that group they should really work on thier training skills. Mr. Canavan was really teriffic with the girls and really connected with them and they just loved thier BandAid. And what was the deal with the young kid who was just sitting around groping his girlfriend all day with his parents, also firefighters watching! Is that allowed in thier fire department? It really was a bit alarming for some of us and didn't they realize there were children present. They really should work on this or send Mr. Canavan by himself.

-- Posted by grlscoutmama on Thu, Jun 25, 2009, at 11:24 AM

All the firefighters seemed to do a nice job that day. My daughter said Mr. Canavan helped out another day also and the girls did really take to him. But someone else, not Ms. Tiehes, ran the camp for the little girls and should have gotten credit for her hard work. My daughter loved it.

-- Posted by AnotherGirlScoutMom on Fri, Jul 3, 2009, at 12:35 PM

The last paragraph of this story scares me.

I too am a scout mom and at Brownie Daycamp this year we were introduced to a program called "hug a tree". It means what it says.

If you are lost in the woods hug a tree, stay there, do not move around. If you are moving and those looking for you are moving there is a greater chance that you will stay lost. We were also instructed about stranger danger in the woods - if you see someone they are probably looking for you so it's ok to let them help you. Other points brought up were that search and rescue squads do not charge for their services, Mom & Dad will not be mad at you for getting lost, they will just be thankful you were found.

I think everyone should look into this program. It was very interesting for the girls and adults alike. Lee Ann Dean was our camp director and the person who told us about this program. I urge all parents to check it out!!!

-- Posted by vocally yours on Wed, Aug 5, 2009, at 2:31 PM

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