Hundreds of children and adults descended on the South Grand Lake Camp Bandage on Saturday, June 10, to learn about a variety of safety issues.
The event, which took place at the Grand Lake RV Resort at Duck Creek, was designed to teach children about safety on topics ranging from lake, fire to electrical.
The first event of its kind on Grand Lake, the South Grand Lake Camp Bandage was modeled after its predecessor in Broken Arrow which began in 1983.
This year’s event is currently the only one to feature working fireboats.
“Last year saw six lake and six river fatalities that all could have been prevented by proper use of a life jacket," explained Ed Ferguson, with the Grand River Dam Authority Police Department. "GRDA is very committed to this annual event because even one life is worth it.”
Ferguson said wearing a life jacket even in shallow water is important, recalling an incident where a man, walking in three feet of water, drowned when he fell into a six-foot deep hole.
“If you can’t see your feet you should be wearing a life jacket,” Ferguson said.
Ken Moore from Grand Lake Sail and Power Squadron said his organization participated in the event because of concern about rising accident rates.
In an effort to assist families and children the Power Squadron handed out 175 life jackets.
Additionally, they helped instruct children on the proper use of life jackets and how to assist in rescuing a person with a flotation device.
Squadron members have placed five free life jacket stands around the lake where boaters can borrow and return a life jacket if they find themselves in short supply.
The South Grand Lake Camp Bandage also allowed children a chance to meet emergency responders and see some of the equipment used.
One of the most popular stations was staffed by the Air Evac Lifeteam which features close to a fully equipped ER designed to meet the needs of one to two patients.
Emergency flights can range from transportation to accident response and contain a pilot, registered nurse and paramedic.
"Most children want to know how fast we can fly," Robert Wade, flight nurse said, "which is about 120 miles per hour."
Wade said crews will typically work 24 hour shifts with the exception of the pilot, who is limited to 12 hours at a time.
Members of the Monkey Island Fire Department brought their fire boats out for children to see in action.
The department responds to approximately 20 boat fires a year. During the demonstration, volunteers stressed how a life jacket is necessary to increase the chances of survival in the event of a boat accident.
Members of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Department brought a seat belt safety simulator to show children what happens during a crash when a seat belt is not in use.
Organizer Vince Scoufos said he was pleased with the event.
"It exceeded expectations," Scoufos said, estimating the event saw at least 1,500 visitors by noon. "Our main deal is for kids to have a good time.”