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.

bdicosmo@semissourian.com

388-3635

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