By Blair Baumgartner
SYRACUSE – Camp HERO 2022 hosted by the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department began this morning at Blue Barn Berry Farm and Event Venue in Syracuse.
“We are very fortunate to have over 105 children who enroll in our camp each year and learn about different aspects of public service. We started this camp three years ago,” said Shane Bucher, chief deputy of the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department, who is running the camp this year.
“Today we are focused on teaching children different aspects of emergency medical services, including how to stop a bleed, administer CPR and first aid, and familiarize them with emergency truck services. and by plane,” he said.
“Times have changed and there aren’t as many people getting involved in public service, so hopefully that might interest some kids in possibly long-term service. It also teaches them that when they see a firefighter or a police officer, or EMT, it’s okay,” he said.
“Today we are focusing on emergency medical services and what children can do to help in an emergency. Tomorrow, firefighters will show children how they extricate someone from a vehicle. They will also receive fire extinguisher training and a chance to operate fire hoses, and the Syracuse Fire Department will also show them how to use a ladder,” he said.
“The last day is law enforcement day. The SWAT team will set up three different stations, including how to break into a building, night vision, and apprehending suspects. The dive team will be here with members of the Sheriff’s Department, Warsaw Police Department and Warsaw Fire Department,” Bucher said.
A Lutheran Health Network Critical Care Transport EC130 helicopter and crew were on hand to show the campers the helicopter and talk about what they do every day. Todd Schindler, a paramedic, said: ‘We have ventilators and IV pumps on board as well as an O-negative blood supply. We put the blood in a machine to warm its temperature to 100 degrees. We are basically a flying emergency room. The helicopter is traveling at over 150 mph and at an altitude of 3,000 feet.
Patrick Smith, a certified flight nurse, said: “We pride ourselves on always dispatching the nearest available helicopter. We always do what is best for the patient.
Bucher told the story of a former camper whose sister had a bicycle accident and was bleeding quite badly and needed emergency treatment. He applied what he learned at Camp HERO and was able to apply pressure to relieve the bleeding until emergency medical personnel arrived on the scene.
Camp counselors all wear the same shirts during camp so children cannot identify them, then wear their full Class A uniforms at the end of camp graduation. They try to make it fun for the kids. Bucher said that this year they will have 9,000 water balloons for a water balloon fight.
On the last day they will conduct a firearms safety course with an Airsoft gun. A graduate of the chemical addiction program at Kosciusko County Jail in Milford will speak to the children. Finally, the camp will end with graduation certificates and special prizes given to the children.