ACSO Junior Deputies get safety lesson

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 14, 2010

NATCHEZ — Natchez’s next set of emergency responders got a jump-start on training Saturday.

The Adams County Sheriff’s Office Junior Deputy program participants got a first-hand look at the job firefighters, search and rescue crews and paramedics do when responding to an emergency during their safety session.

The group of nearly 20 elementary school-aged children also learned how they should react if they ever encounter an emergency situation.

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“When you call 9-1-1, you tell them what’s wrong, where you are and what happened,” paramedic Paula Graham told the students.

Graham and Ty Hutchins of Metro Ambulance Service told the group about basic first aid and the importance of staying calm in the event of the emergency.

Then they provided the children with an up-close look at the inside of the ambulance.

“We hope this is the only time we have to see you guys in the ambulance,” Graham said.

Kai Christie, 7, said being inside the ambulance was the highlight of his day.

“We saw a lot of bandages and the thing they use to see if your heart is still beating,” he said. “There was a lot of stuff in there.”

After the tour of the ambulance, Graham and Hutchins demonstrated how easy it was to lift the stretcher off the ground by having several of the children sit on it.

“That was the coolest thing,” Skylur Foster said. “They just pushed a button and up we went.”

The junior deputies-in-training also heard from firefighters and a search and rescue crew member that explained the procedures used to rescue people from ditches and gullies.

Wayne Wagley, 8, said hearing those stories was the most interesting part of the day for him.

“They use a big basket with ropes and lower it down to you,” he said. “Then they just pull you back up. That sounds pretty cool to me.”

ACSO Capt. Randy Freeman said the program has been dormant for several years before he worked to bring it back this year.

Freeman said besides providing the children involved with useful information, the goal of the program is to create good relationships with children.

“A lot of times when we are out and in uniform, you hear people tell children that if they aren’t good we will arrest them,” Freeman said. “That is not the impression these children need to have about us.

“We are here to help them and don’t need them to be scared of us or intimidated by us.”

He said the program gives the children a chance to get comfortable being around law enforcement officers in a relaxed and fun environment.

The program is open to children between 8 and 12 years old who live in Adams County and have at least a B average in school.

Sign up information is available by calling the sheriff’s office at 601-442-2752.