EL CENTRO — Emergency response medical professionals taught children how to respond to basic emergency situations Thursday, August 1, at the first day of a three-day First Aid 4 Kids camp at Volunteers of America.
“The objective today is to introduce them to first aid at an early age, and inspire them to possibly go into the medical field,” said Nick Guzman, Medic First training center director.
According to Guzman, Dippy Duck, the mascot of the Imperial Irrigation District, taught children how to prevent drowning, firefighters from El Centro Fire Department introduced children to cardio pulmonary resuscitation and careers, paramedics from REACH helicopter demonstrated how they transported patients by air, and paramedics from American Medical Response ambulance showed children instruments and equipment for reviving and transporting patients.
Later in the afternoon, the children, aged 5-12, queued to get inside two AMR ambulances parked in front of VOA, and the REACH helicopter that landed at the auto parking lot near Highway 86.
Medical professionals and other fields of discipline assisted Guzman. Participants were divided into groups: children ages 5–6 were called the Heart group; 7–8 the Brain group; 9–10 the Lungs group; and 11-12, also the Heart group.
Veronica Tirado, a Calexico resident, registered her five-year-old son, Morgan, for the camp so that he could learn a little about first aid.
“I expected him to at least to not panic in an emergency, and maybe help if he needs to by calling,” said Tirado, a childcare provider who received her CPR training from Medic First. “I hoped he learned a lot.”
“We like to take every opportunity to reach out to the community to teach children,” said firefighter Robert Gonzalez. “We want to plant seeds early in them so that they have the capabilities to handle emergencies themselves.”
“They can actually do things to help before we get there,” said Gonzalez, who was assisted by fire engineer Johnny Romero.
According to Gonzalez, “Early help increases the likelihood of survival of a person if we have people on scene that can handle emergencies until we get there.”
Gonzalez, Romero and Jahaziel Palma, a paramedic intern with American Medical Response, demonstrated the Heimlich maneuver technique for the children. According to Romero, the technique is used to dislodge trapped items in the throat such as food, candies, or toys.
However, Romero warned the children that improper techniques can be harmful to a choking person and emphasized the proper hand placement and proper thrust movements.
According to Romero, the children were very excited and asked a lot of questions.
Topics that were covered during the camp were cardiopulmonary resuscitation, obstruction of the airway and drowning prevention, control of bleeding, burn prevention, care and treatment, and seizures.
The first two days of camp were held at Volunteers of America; however, the third day was at Eager Park in Imperial.
Children received a First Aid 4 Kids 2019 Summer Camp shirt, snacks, sports water bottle and certificates of participation.