Encouraging teens to become emergency responders

Published: Oct. 8, 2019 at 5:00 PM CDT
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When an emergency hits, first responders want teens to be prepared. That is why READY Camp hosted its first day-long camp with high school students to teach them basic first responder skills and encourage them to make a career out of it.

"We can actually empower youth to really be self-confident to help others in their community," said Mary Jean Erschen-Cooke, READY Camp director. "Our ultimate goal is that they would choose emergency response professions."

Elizabeth Reines is a freshman at La Follette High School.

"I really want to be an anesthesiologist," she said.

Reines and her classmates came to READY Camp's day-long program on Tuesday. There, they learned several skills they might need in an emergency.

Representatives from FEMA used a game to teach students how different institutions have to prepare for disasters and share resources to take care of everyone.

Firefighters from Fitchburg and Madison and Fitchburg police officers showed students around their trucks and explained how different pieces of gear work.

Students also learned how to make splints for someone with a broken bone and learned how responders triage patients to prioritize treatment after an emergency.

"How doctors get to all the patients and help all their needs and help them get to the hospital," Reines remembered.

Reines wants to go into the medical field, but she is not thinking of being a first responder specifically. Still, she said READY Camp's program taught her some useful skills.

"When I become an anesthesiologist, I'll have to work with doctors and nurses so just working together and communicating is a great skill to have," Reines said.

Now, if she finds herself in an emergency, she could help.

"If you ever find that you're in one of these positions or something, you could definitely save someone's life," Reines said.