An 'injured' student is attended to by an EMT at a mock emergency drill on Monday morning, part of the North Adams Public School's summer science camp.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A visitor to Northern Berkshire YMCA on Monday morning might have been alarmed to see young children swathed in bandages and "bleeding" behind the building.
Not to worry. The children were taking turns on how to react to a real crisis — such as falling off their bikes — fake blood and all.
The second-graders were participating in the school district's 21st Century Community Learning Center Summer Science Camp. And they loaded classmates onto stretchers as a culminating lesson in the "Kids On the Move"-themed program.
North Adams Ambulance Assistant Chief Amalio Jusino said the mock drill was designed to show kids the importance of safety.
"We tried to take a different approach then just preaching to them about wearing a helmet, wearing knee pads, or wearing elbow pads, but to actually show them what happens when you don't," Jusino said. "We know that kids don't always take these precautions, so these kids will know how to take care of their friends until the ambulance arrives."
The students were split into four teams and sent out to handle four different emergency situations. They had to respond to a car accident, a bike injury, a skateboard injury and someone who fell off a ladder. With the help of emergency medical technicians, police officers and firefighters, the leaders guided their teams as they put their "injured" classmates on stretchers.
Depending on the severity of the mock crisis, the teams had to classify the severity of the patient and report if they had to "stop the bleeding" or "secure a patient who may have sustained a concussion."
Jusino said the program focuses on showing kids how to handle trauma injuries specifically.
"I don't like to get into numbers ... but until the age of 40, the No. 1 cause of injury and death is trauma," Jusino said. "We talked a lot about trauma, and the fact that they can see the cause and effect of what is going on will help them make better choices as they grow."
Jusino would change the scenario within the drill so the children had to adapt and think outside of the box. He said this helps them develop the critical thinking abilities that he puts a high value on.
Before the drill, students learned about the different body systems as well as health and wellness lessons said camp coordinator Noella Carlow.
"We want them to know how important it is to keep your body going," Carlow said. "With the use of technology, a lot of the kids are sitting more at computer tables."
She said the community is heavily involved in the summer camp program. The students’ sampled food from Eat to Total Health, participated in the ROPES course, took tae kwon do lessons, and went to a Zumba demonstration.
"These are people who are really invested in the community," she said. "There are really some great people that really care about the kids, and … I always say that one summer can really bend a kid’s life in a way you could never believe."
She said the summer program allows for a much more hands on style of teaching.
"I have been doing this for 13 years and it is my educational utopia because you do things you normally couldn't do in the school year," Carlow said. "We can teach kids in a different way in the summer; it's all project-based and hands on."
Teacher Paula De Laurentiis said the program helps prepare the students for the upcoming school year.
"Everything is framework based so they will have the vocabulary, the concepts down, and the background knowledge that will help them the following year in school, especially in science," De Laurentiis said. "I think it is just so rewarding to see these kids learn and see them excited about everything and knowing that they are outside making friends and learning academic concepts that are going to help them."
She added that students seemed engaged by the program and a number have shown an interest in a career as an EMT or in the medical field.