S.O.S. for Camp Directors

Camp Manager Check List:

 Decide on the type of training specific to your camp population.

 Offer the course before camp begins for optimal retention of procedures.

 Practice emergency action plan.

 Keep course completion cards on file.

Web Resources:

 American Red Cross — www.redcross.org

 American Heart Association — www.americanheart.org

 National Safety Council — www.nsc.org

 Defibrillator (AED) Article — www.camp-business.com/CBEdit0504Defib.html

Camp staff who are knowledgeable in CPR and first aid ensure a safe camp environment, and it is an important component of a comprehensive risk management program.

However, this training should not replace having a certified athletic trainer on staff. Training all staff in CPR and first aid will decrease legal liability, but more importantly it will raise the standard of care provided for campers.

State and local regulations may mandate CPR and first aid training for camp staff. Check with your state or local health department to inquire about specific regulations that may apply to you.

How to Begin

Before deciding which is the best method for training camp staff in CPR and first aid, it is important to weigh several factors…

Do you have the ability to do it yourself? If you decide to invest in training your staff members in CPR and first aid, you will be able to tailor course content to meet staff needs. For many camp administrators this benefit makes the investment worth it.

Many colleges are affiliated with the National Safety Council and have the ability to offer CPR and first aid courses. College faculty associated with the camp or with the facility where the camp is held may be able to provide this service.

To qualify as a National Safety Council Training Center log on to nsc.org and complete the application form. This site also provides information on the types of courses offered.

Typical costs for camp administrators running their own course include CPR supplies (face shields $50, alcohol wipes $20), and first aid supplies (bandages and splints $30).

It is wise to borrow manikins from high schools, colleges or fire departments since purchasing them is costly ($300-$2,500). You may be able to rent them as well. Instructional supplies may be incurred for books ($10-$45 each) depending on the type of course taught.

Other considerations include the number of courses or number of instructors needed. Regulations usually require a one to six instructor-to-student ratio. If you had 20 staff members to train, you would need four instructors or have to run four separate courses.

The time of year to offer the course is also a factor. It is ideal to train staff just before the beginning of camp. Staff will be more likely to retain the information regarding medical conditions and treatment protocols.

An added benefit of instructing these courses just prior to the start of camp is the opportunity to review and practice the emergency plan specific to the camp facilities.

What should be included?

Instruction in child CPR (1-8 years of age) will need to be included for younger campers. If campers are older, only instruction in adult CPR is necessary.

Adult CPR courses should also contain AED (automated external defibrillator) training. Courses in CPR usually entail two four-hour time blocks on separate days. One day is for instruction and practice with testing conducted on the second day. Recertification courses may only take one day.

The content of the first aid course should focus on sport specific concerns. Topics may include blisters, wounds, contusions, strains and sprains, fractures, head injuries, and heat related conditions.

Other topics of value include bites and stings, allergic reactions, hyperventilation and fainting, lightning, sunburn, and OSHA regulations.

If the camp includes a wilderness component, it is necessary to include snakebites, animal bites and insect stings. First aid courses may take 10 to 15 hours to complete, depending on the course content.

Teaching strategies

Both CPR and first aid courses are best taught using the hands-on approach. Teaching strategies incorporate the whole/part/whole teaching method. Students should be shown a skill in its entirety and then have an opportunity to break down and practice parts of the skill.

Students then perform the skill from start to finish. As an example for adult CPR, students would view the entire skill and then practice the separate components: head tilt, chin lift, check for breathing and deliver two breaths, check pulse and begin compressions.

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