Camp 911 teaches area students about lifesaving, safety

The DNR, Michigan State Police, the Baraga Fire Department and other emergency service agencies gathered in Baraga to educate area students in the field of life saving and other emergency services.

It’s called Camp 911 and Bay Ambulance puts it on each year for several reasons.

Bay Ambulance Director Gary Wadaga said, “It’s a two-day program with three main focuses: one is to give the kids some safety information so that they’ll be safer as kids and adults; the second focus is to teach them CPR and first aid; and the third focus is to get them interested in the fields of emergency services, whether it be police, fire or EMS so that when they grow up they can perhaps do this as a profession or become a volunteer in the community that they end up in.”

The kids were treated to demonstrations that included how a person is affected in a rollover accident and how the fire department extracts a person from a vehicle with the jaws of life. They also got to be handcuffed by the police, walk through a decontamination tent and use the DNR’s fire hose, which I also stepped up to try.

While I had fun hosing around, the kids each had their own fun learning experiences.

“The most fun, I’d have to say, was the DNR,” said incoming sixth grader Steele Jondreau, “because we got to spray the hose with the foam. That was pretty cool.”

Fellow student Daniel Lauritsen said, “The most fun was going to the cop’s because he said [the car] is like his little office. It was really cool to see his gun and how he had a computer in his car, and how he had to train for 21 weeks.”

At the end of the day, the focus of the camp is always safety first.

“Again the big thing is to teach them some CPR and first aid,” Wadaga reiterated, “so that if they ever come upon somebody that’s sick or hurt they know what to do besides calling 911, because really, what we do in EMS is all dependent on what somebody does prior to our arrival.”