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Camp 911 Calling Kids to Emergency Services Careers

By Joyce Kryszak

Buffalo, NY – The Erie County Medical Center says kids are taking more than a casual interest in learning about emergency services since the Nine Eleven terrorist attacks.

Registration has more than quadrupled for this year's annual Camp 911 workshops held at the Erie County Medical Center.

It's the fourth year for Camp 911 - all day workshops, aimed at teaching kids, ages 10 to 13, the basics of emergency care and careers.

In the past, ECMC ran two sessions, with a total of about sixty kids participating.

But this year - post Nine Eleven - brought renewed interest and appreciation of 911 responders.

Cara Raczka is the Camp 911 Coordinator.

She said they anticipated greater interest, doubling the number of workshops.

But Raczka said that within three days they had two hundred and fifty kids sign up for the training. And she said there are more waiting.

"We are already booked for the other workshops, but we're looking at the possibility of adding another camp in mid-August," said Raczka.

"We hate to turn any kids away, and if we can get all these people together again, we're going to try to do that."

There are about ten emergency providers participating in the information and training camps, including Mercy Flight, the Buffalo Fire Department, the Erie County Sheriff's Department and Twin City Ambulance.

Raczka said the kids were particularly interested in learning about careers in paramedics.

And she said, with a growing shortage of EMTs, that was especially good news.

"That is the number one area that they are really hurting right now," said Raczka. "And the kids were able to get in the ambulance, and we had two paramedics here that they sat with and they talked with for a while."

The estimated $10,000 cost for the Camp 911 program was underwritten this year, in large part, by the Center for Transportation Injury Research - a joint venture between Calspan and UB.