Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1998: Mock Disaster "WOW" what an experience
Mock Disaster "WOW" what an experience
Bill & Beth Reiller
Thu, 24 Sep 1998 09:40:24 -0400
Several years ago I read an article in the Scouting magazine about some
scouts with the help of their community participated in a mock disaster.
This article stuck in my mind about how much these scouts must have learned
during that event. However, in our area the communities are small and just
don't need the PR of such an event.
About 9 months ago I had an idea to hold a mock disaster at our local
boy scout camp. (Camp Thunder Scout Reservation) We could use the theme
that a tornado has hit the camp while full of campers. I contacted a couple
of other scouters to see what they thought.
We reserved Camp Thunder for the event. We then spent several months
gathering materials and recruiting "victims". We contacted several Explorer
Posts, especially those that were chartered by hospitals and Fire/Rescue.
We used kayro syrup colored red for the blood, colored homemade
playdough for skin, morticians wax, chicken bones, some halloween
appliances, and lots of make up. One of the hospitals donated some
bandaging materal as well as some IV bags and tubing. We were able to use
these to rig some of the victims with arterial bleeding.
Meanwhile, with the Troop I am with we were practicing our first aid
skills. We always devote one month a year to this. Several of the boys
always tell us that they already know all this stuff so why do we keep going
over it. So, the next week I took one of the younger boys aside and made
him up to look like he had severely cut him arm. He went running back in to
the meeting acting hysterical and fell in the floor. The first thing they
all did was freeze. Then they all gathered around him to bandage his arm
but totally forgot about the fact he might be in shock. I told them that
this was a fake injury and this is just a small sample of what they would
encounter at the mock disaster. At first they were angry with me because I
had scared them. After this excersise, they got really serious with
practicing their first aid.
When the weekend came for the mock disaster we gathered at Camp Thunder
friday evening. The victims were members of Explorer Posts and one of our
new Venture Crews. I got them up early Saturday morning for breakfast and
then it was time to start getting into make-up and get some final
instructions on how they needed to act. It took about 2 1/2 hours to get
them all made up. Then they were sent out to their stations as the Troops
starting coming down from their campsites.
During the morning session not many of our victims were saved. When the
Scouts suddenly had to react to something besides a clean arm at a troop
meeting they were unsure of their skills. Their adult leaders went around
with them so that they could see where improvements were needed in the
troop. At one location, as a group would approach one of the young ladies
would run towards them screaming with blood all over her hands. They would
get so caught up with her screaming that the other unconcious victim with a
bone sticking out of his wrist with arterial bleeding would die.
At lunch the Scouts talked about what they had done wrong and how they
could do better. They realized that they needed to try to treat the life
threatening injuries first.
During the afternoon session they all did much better. At the end of
the day we even added a lost camper drill. However, they did not know it
was a drill, not even the other victims knew this was only a drill. We told
them that one of the female Explorers had not returned from her scenero
site. We also told them that she was epileptic and did not know her way
around camp. The troops immediantly did what they had practiced so many
times during summer camp. They did not panic, but broke into groups each
with a different search area. The Explorers however did panic. Where they
have participated several times in lost person drills and actual cases, it
was never one of their own. She was found in about 20 minutes. Now the
Explorers were angry with me because I had scared them, but realized what
they did wrong and stated this was something they would have to discuss
further at their meetings. Unfortunatly at 3am Sunday morning when we had
to transport one of their leaders to the hospital with chest pains it took a
minute to convince them that this was not a drill. (By the way, he was fine
and returned to camp)
The feedback we got from the troops was that they all felt better now
about their first aids skills. The Scouts stated that they did not think
that they ever would have learned as much during a regular troop meeting.
During the mock disaster they had to decide what needed to be done and then
do it in a timely manner. The victims stated that they learned a great deal
by how the Scouts reacted to them. The adult leaders said they learned a
lot about their Troops strengths and weaknesses in first aid and now knew
better where they could improve their first aid program. The weekend turned
out to be a total win, win situation.
I have already been getting phone calls from Troops that were not there
asking if we would do this again next year. They tell me they heard what a
great experience it was and they want their Scouts to participate in one.
So, I think we will definatly do this again.