Camp 911 gives area kids a chance learn safety skills

Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Police let children in attendance pet their Black Labrador, Prime, during Camp 911 Wednesday and Thursday in Baraga. (Ben Garbacz/Daily Mining Gazette)

BARAGA — The 24th Annual Camp 911 was hosted outside of the Village Office of Baraga on Wednesday and Thursday, with the attendance of over 20 children from various schools of Baraga County. The camp is held each year to educate students on safety skills and entice them into joining first responders careers and volunteerism for their local communities through various activities. Scientific and mathematical skills were utilized in the activities the children participated in which were all hands on experiences. The safety skills included injury and illness prevention, CPR and First Aid, and bleeding prevention.

Camp 911 is an event that is held throughout Michigan targeted primarily at fifth and sixth graders and made possible from donations made via businesses and organizations from the hosting county. 

Wednesday emphasized search and rescue and the local hospital demonstrating decontamination which would be seen in the field of HazMat. A Jaws of Life demonstration was made for the children which showcased the tool used to open up cars to those in need of emergency assistance. Department of Natural Resources Law enforcement was present to explain natural resources law and how it is applied in the field.

On Thursday, along with Emergency Medical Services, there was also the presence of the Coast Guard, UPPCO, the Baraga Fire Department, and Law Enforcement to demonstrate skills that can be learned in their particular fields. The Coast Guard demonstrated aquatic safety and discussed water rescue as well as let the children board one of their aquatic vessels. UPPCO held an electrical hazards and safety presentation which demonstrated how strong the power of electricity can be. The Baraga Fire Department had a setup with controlled fire pits containing live fires. The firefighters present taught the children how to safely operate a fire extinguisher and quell the flames.

Another setup the fire department had put up was the Fire Safety House, a trailer that simulates a burning house and one of the children’s favorite stations. The children are taught how to make a fire escape plan and how to escape safely, and even get to dawn firefighter personal protective equipment and gear close to their size. They are also explained to that before they go to bed they should close their bedroom door so that flames do not spread into their bedroom enlarging the fire as well as keeping out the toxic gasses fires release. They learned to feel the doorknob with the back of their hand and how to tell if it is safe to open the door to another room.

The children are also taught a trick to throw a pillow or toy such as a teddy bear out of the window in order to get a firefighter’s attention and let them know there are people in the building since it would be abnormal to see either item outside.

The Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Tribal Police came by to teach the children about the police dogs and being a K-9 officer. The children learned about the different tasks that different dogs performed were given a demonstration by the Tribal Police and their Dutch Shepard, Savage. An adult volunteer wore a protective brace Savage was released to attack the brace. After the demonstration from Savage, the children got to pet the sniffing Black Labrador, Prime.

The day ended with a relay race. The Children were broken up into two groups and they performed activities throughout the competition utilizing everything they have learned regarding their newly acquired safety skills. Afterwards the kids got to enjoy some ice cream and were gifted a bike helmet, fire extinguisher, smoke alarm, and a fanny pack with first aid supplies.

Gary Wadaga, the Director of Bay Ambulance and Program Director of Camp 911, expressed how rewarding it was each year to have the children bring their excitement back home each night to their parents.

“That itself is great,” he said, “but also knowing that you’re giving them information that could keep them out of trouble is also rewarding.”


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