SYRACUSE — Day two of Camp H.E.R.O. was a little more hands on for the 106 campers and an opportunity to learn what it involves, training and equipment necessary.
“It’s going absolutely phenomenal,” stated Kosciusko County Sheriff Kyle Dukes. “The kids are having a blast. The games are fun, the demonstrations are fun.”
The second day focused on duties of members of a bomb squad and SWAT team, along with demonstrations of what their duties include. Many of the campers enjoyed the Elkhart Bomb Squad “blowing up a bunch of stuff” and the SWAT team’s use of a flash bang to apprehend a car thief and free a hostage. But they also learned about the equipment these squads utilized when called upon. Referring to the bomb squad’s demonstration Dukes stated “the kids thought that was awesome.”
But their fun and learning didn’t stop with the fast action of these two teams. Fire department representatives from Milford, North Webster and Syracuse were on hand to demonstrate extrication techniques on a car, show the campers the force of the water pressure coming from a fire hose, how to use a fire extinguisher and the importance of an escape plan and experience being in a smoke filled room. They also were given the opportunity to learn about equipment used by fire departments, such as a ladder truck and emergency equipment.
Many seemed to enjoy being able to ride in the bucket of the ladder truck up into the air 50 feet or even 100 feet, stand on a hydraulic rescue bag as it’s inflated, or pick up some of the extrication tools to see how heavy the tools really are.
The afternoon ended with a little fun in the squad games that included balloons and water.
Day three will bring more fun and learning experiences and conclude with a graduation ceremony.
This is the first year for the camp, something Dukes saw in Huntington County and wanted to try in his home county. The response has exceeded his expectations. “I was hoping and praying for 50 kids. We have 106. I was bombarded with a bunch of positive comments from the parents and the officers,” he stated. There are plans to increase the numbers next year and include a few videos.
“I’ve been out here all morning talking to firemen, police officers, EMS. It’s amazing. I don’t know who needed this more, the first responders or the kids. The first responders are absolutely having a blast,” stated Dukes. He even related his son, who is participating, came home after the first day and was teaching his mother how to stand at attention and salute properly.