Camp Articles


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.

Once students have mastered each technique, they are evaluated on the skill from beginning to end.

To enhance first aid instruction, students can act out scenarios based on the treatment protocols for common conditions. Students can take an active role by developing scenarios and then presenting them to the class in group activities. Simulation of treatment protocols reinforces the information for students.

If camp administrators do not have the ability to develop their own classes, a second option is to hire an outside agency to come on-site to provide the service. This may cost $25-$75 for each staff member. Having all staff attend the same course will ensure consistency in instruction and course content. In addition, information can be presented specific to the camp and facility.

A third option is to have camp staff provide documentation of completed classes in CPR and first aid. The staff member incurs the fee, which varies ($25-$75). This option does not guarantee quality instruction or ensure the content covered.

Two organizations that provide CPR and first aid training include the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Each organization offers a number of courses, making it easy to find one to best fit your needs.

The American Heart Association offers CPR courses at many hospitals through the nursing education department. First aid training is also available through the American Heart Association in conjunction with the National Safety Council. The Heartsaver Facts course is a good choice for camp staff, combining adult CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) with basic level first aid procedures.

The course length is seven to eight hours. American Heart Association course card renewal/expiration dates are two years. To access course information and location of training centers logon to www.americanheart.org.

The American Red Cross offers both CPR and first aid courses. One option which may benefit camp staff is the Sport Safety Training course. The content includes sports related injury prevention, first aid care, adult CPR, and child CPR (optional).

The course is 6 1/2 hours in length and includes a reference manual for future use. Cards are valid for one year from the date of issue. Camp administrators can access course information and training centers through www.redcross.org.

Regardless of the type of training that meets your staff needs, the importance of practicing these techniques can not be underestimated.

Camp administrators must review protocols and emergency care plans on a continual basis. CPR and first aid cards are meaningless if staff members are not razor sharp in the execution of CPR and first aid protocols. The crucial element is for staff to have the knowledge and the ability to react to any situation.

Training in CPR and first aid is a vital part of staff development. Beyond meeting the state and local regulations, the peace of mind knowing that your staff is prepared and the satisfaction of handling medical emergencies with professional protocols is priceless.

Professor Judith Clayman has been a force behind the growth and revitalization of the programs in the School of Sport Science & Fitness Studies at Endicott College. Over the course of her career at the college, Professor Clayman has taught classes in physical education, sports management, health education, aerobics and weight training. In addition to her work at the college, Professor Clayman serves as an evaluator of continuing education programs for aerobics certification at the national level.

Elizabeth Donahue begins her fifth year as a faculty member of the athletic training curriculum within the School of Sport Science & Fitness Studies at Endicott College. She teaches structural kinesiology, therapeutic modalities, therapeutic exercise, kinesiology, First Aid and Safety and Pharmacology. Currently, she is pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education from NOVA Southeastern University. Besides National Athletic Trainers Certification and Massachusetts licensure, Beth holds CPR Instructors Certification from the American Heart Association.

Dr. Deborah Swanton has been with Endicott since 1993. She was appointed Chair of the Athletic Training Program in 1995, and under her tenure the program was granted CAAHEP Accreditation in 1997. She holds the rank of associate professor and teaches courses within the athletic training discipline. She has represented the college at a number of regional and national professional seminars, and has recently completed her doctoral degree in Teaching and Curriculum at Boston University.

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