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Scouts get emergency response training during camporee

May 01, 2004|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - A group of Tri-State area Boy Scouts is about to add terrorist attacks to the list of things they're prepared for.

About 175 Scouts are spending the weekend receiving Community Emergency Response Training while on their spring camporee.

Created by the federal government after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the program instructs ordinary citizens about what to do in a disaster.

"There's only so many professionals. People are going to be to some extent on their own," said Jim Eberhart, one of the instructors and a member of the Hagerstown-based Mason-Dixon Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

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The Scouts, ages 10 to 17, are the first to receive the training in Washington County, but Emergency Management Coordinator Verna Brown wants to offer it to neighborhood watch organizations and other interested groups.

"It's on the premise of neighbor helping neighbor," she said.

After setting up their campsites in a field at the University of Maryland Western Maryland Research and Education Center near Sharpsburg, Scouts headed to the classroom for some instruction.

Today, they'll get some hands-on training in first aid, fire suppression and basic search-and-rescue techniques.

Among the things they'll learn is how to safely turn off the electric and gas supply to a building in a disaster.

On Sunday, the Scouts will be tested on what they learned and receive a certificate of achievement from the county's emergency management department.

Those interested in signing up groups for the program can contact Brown at 240-313-2904.

Before the program began, Scouts were busy building their camps.

They set up canopies and brought tarps to protect their gear if it rains. They unloaded boxes and coolers full of food.

When asked about the most important thing to bring camping, Bill DeBold, 17, and Kyle Snodderly, 15, both said clothing.

"If you don't have the right clothes, you're going to suffer all weekend," Snodderly said.

Some adults had a different idea.

Marc Stevens, 39, said the most important thing about camping is the food.

Stevens' troop, from Maugansville, brought eggs and bacon for breakfast, ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch and Steak'um sandwiches for dinner.

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