What would you do when faced with disaster?
With their victim, a classmate, lying on the floor, the students rolled her onto a wool blanket as they learned one way to transport an injured person.
“I’m gonna die in this group,” she joked as the students rolled her onto her side.
“That was not very gentle,” one boy holding the blanket noted as they set her down.
Instructors hope the lessons remain with the kids.
Nearly 20 students are taking part in the two-day Responding to Emergencies and Disasters with Youth program at the Parkview Charter High School. The Center for School, Youth and Citizen Preparedness runs the program for students across the state to train them how to prevent, prepare for and respond to serious, unexpected situations.
Charter High School Coordinator Linda Bellomo first heard about the program at a safety conference a couple years ago and thought it sounded like good opportunity, she said.
Tom Eithun, a captain with the Oregon Fire Department, and Randy Eichman, a READY program instructor, ran Tuesday’s sessions. Topics ranged from emergency preparation and terrorism to outdoor training on using a fire extinguisher.
Today, the students will learn CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator before staging their own mock disaster. Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be certified in American Red Cross First Aid and CPR and external defibrillator use.
“I’ve never done stuff like this before,” senior Brad Hanson said. “It’s a new thing to me, and it’s cool.”
Hanson and senior Jon Hansberry said the skills they’re learning, such as using a fire extinguisher, will be useful.
“We’re always messing with cars and dirt bikes, anything like that,” Hansberry said. “Somebody always gets hurt with that.”
The program offers plenty of hands-on activities, and Eithun and Eichman kept the group involved. Eithun described gruesome accidents he’s responded to.
The instructors taught the group how to conduct a “right-handed” search of a dark building. In partners and on their hands and knees, one blindfolded student held on to the ankle of his or her partner while that person crawled around the room with their right hand remaining along the wall and other objects.
“If you look down and you can’t see your feet, you shouldn’t be on them,” Eithun said.