"Always Be Prepared": Scouts and EMS team up for training - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

"Always Be Prepared": Scouts and EMS team up for training

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -- More than one hundred emergency workers, Boy Scouts, and community members are preparing for the worst so they can react in the best way possible. The Bremer County Emergency Management Coordinator helped organize a massive training exercise at the Ingawanis Camp near Waverly.

Here's the scenario -- more than 200 Boy Scouts and leaders are in the middle of their final week of camp. A tornado rips through, leaving an unknown number of casualties in its path.

"We've never attempted to find this many victims in this type of terrain, where we've got communication challenges, certainly we've got terrain issues because they're not able to drive trucks and ambulances back where the victims are," said Kip Ladage, EMS Coordinator for Bremer County.

First responders and firefighters from at least ten surrounding communities are taking part in the drill. Volunteers are staged as parents and members of the media, and real-life scouts and counselors are playing their part as victims.

"We did a briefing -- Play this for real. If you want to cry, if you can cry, and give us tears, do it how you would feel if this really happened. And from what I've seen, they're doing just what we needed them to do," said Ladage.

"I was trapped under a bunch of canoes today, I work at the waterfront so I was playing someone who got blown over and trapped under a town and some canoes," said camp counselor Teala Krapfl.

The exercise hits close to home for Krapfl.

"That is my real role -- I actually work at the waterfront which is why I got chosen," said Krapfl.

The Boy Scout motto is to "always be prepared." And even if they never face a disaster of this magnitude, they have the skills to respond in a real emergency.

"You never know when the bad things are going to happen. We never expected Parkersburg to get hit and most of the people you see here responded over to Parkersburg. That kind of makes you realize -- it could have been us," said Ladage.

This was a real week of summer camp for many of the participants. The counselors were especially proud of how their scouts reacted.

They wanted to conduct an exercise like this after a similar tragedy happened in two years ago. Four scouts died, and many more were injured, when a tornado tore through Little Sioux Camp.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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