Northern New York Newspapers
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NNY Living
Thu., Oct. 8
Serving the communities of Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Lewis counties, New York
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ADAMS — Cameron M. Humphrey, 9, of Rodman, was relieved to see his companion treated by a South Jefferson Rescue Squad emergency medical technician.

The rescue squad at 38 Main St. hosted a teddy bear clinic Saturday designed to ease children’s fears of an ambulance and EMT personnel in case of a real emergency. Cameron brought his stuffed moose to have its injured arm helped.

“We answer any questions that they have ... encourage them to open any cupboards; we do whatever they want to make them comfortable,” said Deborah L. Singleton, executive director of the South Jefferson Rescue Squad.

A general concern is that parents may unintentionally shelter their children and think of an ambulance only when there is an emergency. The clinic offered both children and parents a chance to learn what an ambulance can do without the hassle of an emergency trip.

“The majority of stuff we do isn’t an ouchy,” Ms. Singleton said.

This was the second year the rescue squad has hosted the free clinic. Children as old as 10 were asked to bring along a stuffed animal or doll to be “fixed up” by a medic or emergency medical technician. Children also were given a tour of the ambulance.

“To me it’s just a mini doctor’s office,” said Cameron, who came to the clinic with younger sister, Mia E.

“I’m still afraid,” 6-year-old Mia admitted.

“At first she was scared of the oxygen because she thought it was a shot,” said the children’s mother, Melissa E. Gillette.

Chief William B. Mabe demonstrated how the oxygen mask fitted first over Mia’s face and then his own.

“We do transport a lot of kids, unfortunately,” Mr. Mabe said. He estimated that at least two or three children ride in an ambulance per month. Most often the children are picked up from schools.

Save for X-ray or ultrasound machines, ambulances are equipped with most emergency medical equipment, as well as several teddy bears to keep children calm in emergency situations.

“It’s a scary thing, whether it’s a family member or them that’s in the ambulance,” Ms. Singleton said.

Jesse G. Rogers, medic, and Patrick M. Shelmidine, EMT, were on site to wrap up “injuries” on stuffed animals and walk children through ambulance equipment and procedures.

“They usually ask what the monitor is,” Mr. Rogers said, referring to the Lifepak machine. “They think it’s a TV.”

A heart monitor, the Lifepak also acts as a defibrillator and measures blood pressure.

“It gives your arm a little hug,” Mr. Shelmidine explained to Emily and Janelle Reinhardt of Adams Center.

It was not the first time in an ambulance for 3-year-old Emily, who had difficulty breathing a few months ago. Her mother, Tara, wanted her children to “experience it in a way where they’re not afraid.”

“What we want to do is provide as much information as we can on a child’s level,” Mr. Shelmidine said.

Children also showed interest in the hydraulic-based stretcher, which Mr. Shelmidine said can hold up to 700 pounds.

After the tour, children were allowed to color a picture of an ambulance.

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