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Kids need safety training, too

Claire Eskwith

Emergency agencies from around the county are hosting their second annual 911 Emergency Training Camp for kids on Friday.

The camp aims to provide kids 10 to 12 years old with the skills necessary to handle emergency situations, most of which occur during the summer.

“Kids ages 10 to 12 are just starting to not go to day camp do things on their own in the summer completely unsupervised,” says spokesperson for the Eagle County Ambulance District Cathy McRory. “Our goal is to teach them how to handle emergencies that come up in a controlled manner.”



Between the months of May and August, nearly half of all national injury-related childhood deaths occur, according to a national safety pole.

In a fun setting, the camp will equip children with the knowledge of how to handle fire, water, traffic and personal protection emergencies. Kids will learn water rescue and safety at the Avon Rec Center pool, which will be followed by a free swim.



Put out fires

The Eagle River Fire Protection District and Vail Fire Department will teach kids how to use fire extinguishers by allowing them to put out a real fire. Department staff will also provide an artificial smoke-filled maze in which children will learn how to rescue themselves and others.

“It’s an exciting time because the kids are in awe of what they are learning,” says Vail Fire Chief John Gulick. “We’re teaching the kids routines to be safe and responsible citizens when they grow up.”



One of the unique activities the camp offers is the “Safety-Saurus,” a large van with machines and models inside to teach children about how the body works.

“The Safety-Saurus was cool, and my favorite part was when we got to put out real fires,” says returning camper Ascher Robbins. “You can still learn great stuff while still having fun.”

Ascher Robbins,13, and his brother Parke Robbins, 11, will both attend the camp on Friday, and their mother Deb Robbins says she is very impressed with what the camp has to offer.

“I’m happy they learned to do more than just dial 911,” says Deb Robbins. “They learned not to just jump in the water after someone who’s in trouble. Most kids think they’re heroes and this camp teaches them to approach situations using wise choices.”

Safe scootering

Officers with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Department and the Colorado State Patrol will teach campers how to ride their bikes, scooters and skateboards in relation to moving traffic and provide a life-like crash scene story board, which will showcase a car that was involved in an accident.

Police will explain what happened with the fatal crash to emphasize the importance of seat belts and instruct kids what to do at the scene of an accident.

“This is not so much a safety camp as it is a training camp on how to handle emergency situations,” says McRory. “We want kids to be confident with emergencies. When one child is confident, the other kids with them will be less upset in an emergency situation.”

Police will also let kids try out the the “Seat Belt Convincer,” which demonstrates how seat belts work – and provides a fun ride in the process.

The Vail Valley Medical Center and national accident prevention organization, Think First, will also show kids how a bike helmet should fit and provide children who do not already have a proper bike helmet with one one to take home.

At Avon Elementary School, kids will learn self-defense techniques and ways to deal with strangers. Police will take photos of all campers and write down their physical characteristics in order to make “Kid ID Kits” to give to their parents in the event their child goes missing.

What to say

The local ambulance and dispatch services will teach kids exactly what to say if they have to call 911. Kids will make actual phone calls to dispatch, learn what to do with a sick or injured person until the ambulance arrives and see what medics will do on the scene.

“This camp is important because kids will learn very valuable knowledge through the activities we will be doing,” says Ron Moreno, camp organizer and Youth Recreation Coordinator for the Town of Avon.

“In the event that the kids are in an emergency situation, whether it be a fire in their home or getting hurt hiking, hopefully they will remember what they learned and understand what to do.”

In the mountain region, 47 percent of child injury-related deaths occur during the summer and 12 percent of all such deaths occur in the month of July, according to the SAFE KIDS national campaign.

“If communities all over the nation did programs like this it would make a huge difference,” says McRory. “The kids loved it last year and I got great feedback from parents. The camp turned out better than I ever would have dreamed.”

Pre-Registration and a release of liability is required for children to participate in the camp.

To register, stop by the Avon Recreation District or call 748-4060.

For more information, contact Cathy McRory at 926-5270 or Ron Moreno at 748-4056.


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