Camp 911 aims to give kids practical knowledge in the event of an emergency | VailDaily.com

Camp 911 aims to give kids practical knowledge in the event of an emergency

EAGLE — Usually when local emergency services personal converge at a single location, there isn't a lot to laugh about.

Camp 911 is the exception to that rule.

"This is the one time all of the agencies get to work together without it being something horrible," said event organizer Cathy DuLac, EMS outreach coordinator for Eagle County Paramedic Services.

For the past 14 years, Camp 911 has pooled local emergency services resources available throughout the Vail Valley and presented a free, one-day session designed to give kids ages 9 to 11 important information and practical knowledge about what to do in the event of an emergency — basically any emergency. Sessions include hands-on lessons involving everything from water safety to fire-extinguisher operations and are designed to educate youngsters at a critical moment.

"Kids who are 9 to 11 years old are just starting to go out there on their own," said DuLac. "We present various emergency sessions to teach them what to do until an adult gets there."

Practicing Emergency Situations

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Throughout the camp day — which begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until 4 p.m. — campers cycle through various stations manned by different agencies. Kids have the chance to ride the Colorado State Patrol seat belt convincer and practice making a 911 emergency phone call with the assistance of local emergency dispatchers. They crawl through a "smoke house" demonstration courtesy of the Greater Eagle and Eagle River fire departments and navigate a traffic sign course onboard pedal trikes with deputies from the Eagle County Sheriff's Office. Personnel from Vail Valley Medical Center set up a miniature skateboard course that showed what happens to an egg that isn't protected.

"The whole idea is to show them the importance of wearing helmet," said DuLac, "And every kid who doesn't have a helmet at home will go home with a helmet."

This year's program added a particularly relevant station — representatives from Vail Police taught kids how to recognize, and hopefully avoid, marijuana edibles.

Even lunchtime is an educational opportunity during Camp 911. The crew from Flight for Life brought an air ambulance to the site, providing for a dramatic arrival and an up close examination of the technology.

All told, more than 2,000 local kids have participated in Camp 911 sessions since 2001. On Wednesday, 85 youngsters were part of the Gypsum Camp 911 session and a second Camp 911 is planned in Avon on July 29.