Be prepared — for anything

MARSHALL – “Be Prepared” is the Boy Scout motto, and area Scouts got a chance to test their preparedness when they were surprised by a staged accident at a camporee at Lake Shetek on June 1.

“We have our spring and fall camporees,” said Troop 320 committee member Wanda Sowden. “The Buffalo Ridge District picks the theme, and this year it was a mock accident. I went along with it and did the emergency preparedness and first aid.”

Troop 4 from Brookings, S.D., Troop 25 from Slayton and Marshall troops 238 and 320 participated.

“It seemed like a good exercise to keep the boys on top of their skills,” said Troop 320 Scoutmaster Lonny Sowden.

The Sowdens enlisted Rebecca Johnson with Troop 238 and Avera Marshall Regional Medical Center to teach first aid, bandaging and splinting.

“Basically it was about how to prepare for an emergency with major injuries,” Wanda Sowden said. “We wanted to teach them what to do during a tornado, a bombing like Boston, the Cottonwood bus accident, train accidents. It seems like every day in the news there’s some kind of tragedy.”

The organizers staged a boat accident with water rescue, though it was too cold to go in the lake.

Scouts got to practice triage of the injured – the grim task of separating those who can wait on help from those who can be saved by immediate help and those who are beyond help.

Star Scout Tyler Sowden was an appointed victim, looking appropriately gruesome with a little help from Alex and Amanda Castro of the Marshall Area Stage Company.

“They broke my nose and put a huge gash on my leg,” he said. “My job was to lay there while they figured out how to wrap the bandages and take me up to the cabin.”

The scenario involved five victims, only one of whom could walk unaided. The Scouts practiced the fireman’s carry, blanket carry and three-man carry on the other four.

Scout leaders were well-pleased with the scouts performance.

“Yes they were leery at first,” Wanda Sowden said, “but going through that mock accident is going to give them the skills they’ll need if they’re ever involved in a real accident.”