DALLAS — Is it a sprain or a fracture? Venomous or non-venomous? Indigestion or a heart attack? The Boy Scouts of the Two Mountains District spent a day training to know the difference.
The Boy Scouts held their annual First Aid Meet event on Saturday at Misericordia University, where over 200 Boy Scouts from the Wyoming Valley and Wyoming County were divided into teams of up to eight to practice first aid and teamwork skills.
The Scouts went through 10 different stations with common first aid scenarios and an informational presentation about careers in health care and emergency medical service. The teams competed against each other and were judged based on their quality of care, teamwork and knowledge of procedure.
“First aid especially is something that a lot of people don’t know. It’s basic skills, but when an emergency happens, it’s rare that you have someone medically trained,” said Two Mountains Senior District Executive Ryan Murray, one of the event organizers.
“We teach the Scouts the basics,up to CPR and using AEDs (automated external defibrillators). It’s part of progressing through Scouting that they build on those skills and learn more about First Aid. It’s a skill you’ll have to use eventually and our motto is ‘Be Prepared,’” Murray explained.
“For this event, all the Scouts come together, and that alone encourages camaraderie between the boys,” Pat Kobela, board member of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Boy Scouts Council, said. “This kind of organized event refreshes their skills and allows them to showcase their skills and what they’re capable of in a much more confident scenario than an actual emergency.”
“We do first aid training three or four times a year and there’s also the First Aid merit badge, said 15-year-old JR Bastemer, a Sout for nine years with Troop 106 Mountain Top. “First aid is one of the things in Scouting that isn’t that difficult to get into, but it’s very helpful in everyday life,” Bastemer commented.
The First Aid merit badge assessment is based on American Red Cross first aid standards according to the merit badge handbook. It is a required badge to reach the Eagle Scout rank. The badge requires that Scouts understand concepts of first aid such as triaging, preparing a first aid kit, and providing emergency treatment for common injuries.
While Bastemer doesn’t want to go into a medical field as a career, he found the CPR training especially informational. “If a situation where I needed to use it came about, I’m confident that I’d be able to help,” he said.
“This is one of the skills they’re most likely to use during their lives, not only in their Scouting career, but as adults to help a family member or even a stranger, to save a life,” Dr. Richard Oley, an assistant Scout Master of Troop 281 Dallas and family medicine practitioner. “It builds their confidence in emergency situations so that they know how to approach it systematically.”
This is the second year the Boy Scouts had the meet at Misericordia.
“This event practically runs itself, and that speaks to the Boy Scout’s organization. Our nursing students are also involved with this event, so they’re helping out at the stations and learning as well,” Johnna Evans, special events coordinator at Misericordia, said.
Victoria Avidano, a junior nursing student, worked at the “Rocky Trail” training station.
“In this scenario, our victim has fallen, cut and fractured his leg and sustained a head injury. We have them practice immobilizing the head and splinting the leg,” Avidano said. “Since the Scouts are younger, hands-on experience like is a great process to help apply the information from books into real-life situations.”