Ahead of National EMS Week, paramedics and EMT's from Hartford Healthcare and Hunter's Ambulance staffed a “Teddy Bear Boo-Boo Clinic" for young students in Meriden.
The goal: to learn basic first aid and life-saving skills.
Student in pre-K through fourth grade at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School were taken outside the classroom and inside an ambulance Tuesday.
"A lot of the times when we respond to emergencies with children, they're afraid of us,” said Hunter Ambulance EMT Kevin Sheehan.
The program, however, works to make children more comfortable with healthcare professionals. Students were shown what it looks like to put on a neck brace and strap into a stretcher.
Other stations provided gauss and Band-Aids to practice treating injuries, using their favorite stuffed animals as the patient. Another table displayed puzzles, x-rays, and three-dimensional diagrams of the human body.
“Unfortunately, in our line of business, when we're connecting with a child, it's in emergency situations. So being able to do that proactively and get in front of them will hopefully help them,” said Kevin Ferrarotti, Hartford Healthcare’s senior EMS director.
Ferrarotti said Tuesday’s clinic marked its return to Benjamin Franklin Elementary after two years. The tradition usually takes place around National EMS Week, May 15 to 22. One way the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians recommends celebrating is by having an "EMT Day for Children."
Sheehan taught a brave and knowledgeable group of students who say they know to react in these situations, how to practice safety and the importance of knowing these basic skills.
"Just in case someone gets injured, you help them,” said third grader Eyza Caraballo.
In light of EMS Week - Hartford Healthcare also plans to celebrate the use of a new technology called Twiage, which increases communication between hospitals, EMS and other healthcare providers.
"Having that awareness and then having the ability to teach those children to initiate even the most basic care or at least basic prevention will help so tremendously throughout our higher delivery of treating the patient,” Ferrarotti said.
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