Imagine the following scenario . . . .
You're waiting patiently in line in heat that is exceeding 90 degrees. Suddenly, one camper falls to the ground, is unconscious, and begins to have a seizure. Would you and your staff know what to do?
Many of us understand in the “rational” part of our brains that being injured or suddenly taken ill is a part of life. However, how many of us in the “practical” part of our brains would be able to carry out the appropriate steps to assist a camper, peer, or colleague in an emergency situation? The above scenario is based on a factual incident that took place. Fortunately, for the young camper, all of the staff were trained to deal with emergencies and were prepared and able to assist in this situation. With proper training in both preventive measures for emergencies and guidelines for assistance in case of an emergency in the workplace, your staff can respond appropriately.
The American Red Cross tells us that approximately two million people are hospitalized each year as a result of injuries (ARC, 1993). The likelihood of any one of us being injured at some point in our lives is fairly great. What we also know is that we are more likely to use first-aid skills to help someone who we know personally rather than a stranger.
Prevention and Response
Understanding that injuries can and will take place is the first step in designing prevention techniques for your camp. Simple things such as mandating all camp staff hold current first aid and CPR cards is one preventative measure. This would include all staff — from counselors to cooks! Realizing, however, that children can be injured or taken ill in other places might also mandate that bus drivers or classroom instructors should also have the same credentials. How many individuals in your camp have these credentials?
We should also understand that adults have the opportunity to get hurt or to be taken ill, and therefore, perhaps it is time to have all individuals that are involved with the camp hold these credentials. Doing so may, in fact, save an adult’s life. Another factual example: A camp nurse came to the camp director complaining she didn’t feel well. Upon further questioning, the director found the nurse to also be complaining of indigestion and some mild chest discomfort. Luckily, this director was trained in first aid and CPR and understood these to be warning signals of a heart attack.
If your camp has an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) for use when a person shows no signs of circulation, there must be people who are credentialed in the proper use of the AED. There are new changes that have taken affect as of January 2002, whereby the American Red Cross will be implementing the use of the AED in its courses.
First Aid and CPR
Red Cross First-Aid and CPR courses teach many different life-saving skills,including:
In addition, the first-aid component teaches individuals how to provide immediate care for burns, poisoning, cuts, sudden illness, as well as shock.
Designing Emergency Protocols
Determine who does what and when. For instance, who calls 911? Is the nurse called first? If the emergency is on a playing field, how is 911 accessed? Are there gates that must be opened? Who has the keys to the gates? If you are away on a field trip, who is designated to call 911? Where do the students go who are not involved in the emerg