Life-saving lessons

Students learn how to make 9-1-1 calls

By:John Patten
   At first glimpse, the scene had all of the hallmarks of a terrible accident — the body of third-grader Veronica Zuccarello twisted oddly on the floor, her panicked brother dialing 9-1-1.
   But the "accident" was carefully staged under the guidance of Hillsborough High School senior and Rescue Squad member Lindsay Krahn on March 22. Lindsay had arranged for Veronica’s "accident" so her fellow Amsterdam School students could learn how to tell 9-1-1 dispatchers of medical emergencies or accidents.
   According to the squad’s Sean Moroney, the squad has been offering the sessions to every third-grade class in Hillsborough for the last three years. The classes are organized and run by the 10 members of the squad who are students themselves, such as Lindsay.
   Breaking the school’s classes into smaller more manageable groups of a dozen or so, the squad members organized a variety of scenarios in which one student was a "victim," another a 9-1-1 dispatcher and a third student who had the task of reporting the necessary information to the dispatcher ("You have to tell them what happened, where you are and what’s happening with the patient," Lindsay told her charges).
   The students took turns in the different roles until they all had a chance to report an emergency, learning how to deal with such situations.
   The Rescue Squad has 10 Hillsborough High School students on its active roster, including Lindsay. The other members are Chris Neuwirth, Stacey Telenson, Jennifer Geller, Ryan McCormick, Mike Fillipone, Christina Cuaresma, Puja Patel, Carissa Daino and Brian Neuwirth.
   Mr. Moroney said that while no Hillsborough student they’ve trained has had to make such a call yet, a student involved in a similar program in Montgomery was able to make a call that may have saved a grandparent’s life last year.
   Teacher Kathy Poch noted the program is particularly valuable these days.
   "In this hectic time, it’s really an important lesson … a real ‘life-skill,’ " she said.
   The training followed a more eye-popping examination of the squad’s ambulances. When the squad members arrived for the demonstration, they brought four vehicles, but two vehicles had to leave in the middle of the presentation due to an emergency call.