CALDWELL, IDAHO – Southwest District
Health (SWDH) and Southwest Idaho Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) are now in
preparation for Idaho READYKAMP 2019 to promote citizen preparedness among
local youth. The camp is designed for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders who
reside in Southwest Idaho and are interested
in learning how to help their families
and communities become
safer, stronger, and more
prepared in the case of an emergency. This is the sixth year for the camp.

“This preparedness camp empowers
our youth to serve as ambassadors of preparedness for their communities with
hands-on exercises, learning opportunities, and fun activities,” said Ricky
Bowman, Public Health Preparedness Manager for Southwest District Health. “Our
graduates are encouraged to share their newly acquired expertise with their
families, schools, and communities so that all are safer and better prepared if
disaster strikes,” he said.

Camp participants learn about
disaster preparedness, hazardous materials, fire safety, search and rescue,
water rescue, triage, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), first aid, emergency
radio communications, and terrorism.

Training modules are presented by
local first responders and experienced MRC volunteers using the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Teen Community Emergency Response Team
(CERT) curriculum. This emergency preparedness training is combined with
traditional summer camp activities, such as movie nights, camp fires,
marshmallow roasts, pizza parties, and field trips.

“Last year we
had 12 returning campers from the previous year said Jeff Cappe, ReadyKamp
Coordinator. “Their contribution was significant because they were able to
instill a level of trust and acceptance in the first year campers that an adult
in the same situation may not be able to accomplish. The campers were inspired
by the knowledge and leadership of the team leaders,” he added.

The campers participate in a
“mock” disaster exercise, using the skills and knowledge they have gained
during camp. Each camp participant is assigned a response role and functions as
a first responder. For 2018, the mock disaster scenario incorporated an explosion
in a high school basement.

The camp culminates with a graduation and awards dinner for the campers and their families. Last year, thirty-two successful graduates earned a diploma and received a preparedness backpack filled with emergency preparedness and response gear. Cappe added parents have noticed that in addition to basic response skills, their youth have also gained awareness for action planning, leadership, and teamwork.



Katrina Williams





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