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Mountaineer Preparedness Weekend: Set to challenge local Scouts

A few years ago, an 11-year-old Elkins boy was able to put his Boy Scout training into use when he and his father were both accidentally shot and the youngster was able to get help for both, according to Amy Garbrick, vice president of programs for the Boy Scouts of America’s Mountaineer Area Council.

And more recently, Boy Scouts who were on a train in Missouri that was derailed, jumped into action to help assist, she said.

“Be Prepared” is the well-known motto of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), and that includes being trained to handle all sorts of situations.

Mountaineer Preparedness Weekend, an event sponsored by a group of emergency and health agencies, will give area Scout troops the opportunity to see presentations on wilderness care, CPR, search and rescue, EMS duties, Stop the Bleed, radiation safety, medical helicopter capabilities and more.

The event will be Oct. 7-9 at Camp Mountaineer in Monongalia County. The activities will take place Oct. 8, round-robin style as groups move from station to station.

“Emergency preparedness specifically has been a part of the BSA’s teachings for more than 100 years, to allow those to be ready to assist those in need in their family and greater community,” Garbrick said.

Garbrick was approached by Forest Weyen, executive director of Monongalia EMS, with the idea to hold an event in which a variety of emergency service workers could provide training to local boys and girls who belong to the BSA.

“He said that it could be educational, fun and perhaps even lead them on a career path,” Garbrick said. Jeff White, director of safety for HealthNet Aeromedical Services, said a helicopter presentation sometimes serves as a great recruitment tool.

“We often hear from people who say that they were inspired to join the air medical industry after touring one of our helicopters,” White said. “HealthNet flight team members truly enjoy meeting with young folks with hopes of inspiring them to work in EMS or even work as a flight nurse or flight paramedic one day.”

During Mountaineer Preparedness Weekend, HealthNet will showcase the workings of a medical helicopter as well as offer some hands-on experience on how to package and prepare a patient for transport.

And Mon EMS will demonstrate a variety of activities, including splinting, CPR, AED, vital signs, assessment techniques, lifting and moving patients, rescue tool experiences and more.

“This will be augmented by static displays of various EMS equipment and vehicles,” Weyen said.

Mon EMS and HealthNet will be joined by the Mountaineer Area Rescue Group presenting an initial reflex search, and Monongalia County Health Department’s Threat Preparedness program, which will instruct the national Stop the Bleed course and demonstrate radiation safety.

“This event was a natural synergy with the resources we have in and around Monongalia County, the beautiful venue of Camp Mountaineer and the expertise and enthusiasm of all the partner agencies,” Weyen said.

Members of the BSA Mountaineer Area Council have had the opportunity to sign up for the Preparedness Week for several weeks (at, and many more are expected to commit closer to the event. The event is open to Scouts ages 11-17 from any council, not just Mountaineer Area Council, Garbrick said.

As of early September, about 65 youth and adults had signed up from six troops in Monongalia, Preston, Marion and Harrison counties, she said. About half of the 800 members of the Mountaineer Area Council are in the age range to participate.

Lee Fuell, president of the Mountaineer Area Rescue Group, said activities will include introductions to search management, ground search tactics and possibly demonstrations of search dogs and

“This training will help Scouts know how to respond effectively if a member of their group becomes lost or missing so they can start the initial efforts while waiting for emergency responders to arrive,” Fuell said. “It will also prepare them to augment search-and-rescue teams as community volunteers if needed on a large-scale lost or-missing-person incident.”

Stop the Bleed was created by the American College of Surgeons to teach skills that can be used in the field following a car crash, a mass shooting or other incident.

“Stop the Bleed training is a key component to add to the Scouts’ repertoire of personal preparedness,” said Joe Klass, chief of operations of MCHD Threat Preparedness. “Stop the Bleed will give Scouts the knowledge, skills and confidence to take action if someone, or themselves, experiences uncontrolled bleeding. Using Stop the Bleed, they can save a life.”

Klass also will instruct Scouts on the basics of radiation safety and illustrate how MCHD Threat Prep would respond to radiation incidents. Participants also will learn about personal protective equipment (PPE), “what it is used for and how to take it on and off,” he said.

Scouts should be able to earn credit toward rank requirements for their efforts.

“We tried to find a natural fit between what the Scouts need in order to meet certain promotional requirements while also giving them hands-on, real-world situations to make this a very immersive learning experience,” Weyen said.