Girl Scout Faith Wold, 14, of Welsh squeezed and shoved, stuffing a clean gauze into a piece of bloody meat designed to mimic a life-threatening injury, during a life saving exercise.
By the end of the afternoon, packing a wound, wrapping bandages, tightening a tourniquet, doing CPR and pulling victims to safety was something Wold and more than a dozen other Scouts could do after completing a crisis emergency training at Jennings Elementary School. Sheriff deputies, city police and firefighters also participated in the realistic training.
"The goal is to teach the youth the things that can be done during an emergency such as a school shooting, a hunting accident or some other crisis," instructor Ray Collins, a combat medic veteran, active paramedic and author of "When the Unthinkable Happens: A Practical Guide to Survival During Crisis," said. Before the hands-on training, Collins demonstrated the step-by-step process of using makeshift tourniquets, applying pressure to stop bleeding and how to pull the "dead weight" of unconscious victim's to safety.
The training puts the "realism factor" in the difference between life and death, giving bystanders a bit of knowledge to do their best during a terrible situation while providing crucial, life-saving treatment to the injured using basic first aid skills, he said.
The four-hour class in late March covered the mindset, tactical response and practical trauma care for a crisis event.
Participants were taught practical and basic first responder tactics to provide potentially life-saving care for emergency and accidental injuries.
"This is training the Scouts what to do if there is a trauma or incident happening at their school," Girl Scout Troop 72 Assistant Scout Leader Joann Benoit said. "Hopefully, it's training they'll never have to use, but it's important to know how."
Many of the Scouts were also earning a trauma badge as part of the training. Sheriff Ivy Woods said the idea to hold the class followed an active shooter exercise held in November for area law enforcement and emergency responders.
"During that exercise, we addressed the potential threat of an active shooter from a tactical standpoint, with specific focus on threat neutralization, first responder action and victim retrieval," Woods said. "However, what many people often don't realize is that emergency entry teams are not there to aid victims. Part of their training involves bypassing victims to seek out and stop the threat first. Once the environment is safe, medical assistance may be rendered. Otherwise, this leaves response teams vulnerable and unable to provide any assistance to victims at all."
By providing basic first aid training to youth and others, they are able to aid potential victims while seeking cover in a crisis situation, until first responders can safely enter the scene, Woods said.
After the hands-on training, Wold she feels better prepared should the worst happen. "I've learned what to do in a real life situation if something happens and that you need to stop the bleeding," she said. "It's not easy because you have to find the right spot and stop it."
May Blanchard, 11, of Welsh said she feels more prepared rather than face a situation not knowing what to do. Blanchard said she hopes she's never put in that situation.
"I've learned to save people if people get shot," Makayla Authement, 11, of Welsh said, applying pressure to a fake gunshot wound victim.
"It's teaching me the fundamentals and what to do in an emergency situation." Kamon Wier, 11, of Welsh said securing a tourniquet on a friend's arm.
"It's all about survival," Gentry Pousson, 14, of Welsh said, adding that hopefully it's something he'll never have to do.