Boy Scouts learn search and rescue skills at Ouabache State Park

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WELLS COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) — Boy Scouts in Wells County earned their search and rescue badges with help from first responders at Ouabache State Park.

Boy Scouts from Bluffton and Markle took part in the training where they were tasked with finding victims and getting them to safety. The victims were covered in mock injuries and hidden in secluded parts of the park. The scouts were sent to find them, provide early treatment, and get them to safety.

Several departments including the Bluffton and Ossian Fire Departments as well as Wells County EMS, Lutheran Air, and the Department of Natural Resources. The hope is that by walking them through the process, the scouts will achieve a deeper understanding of what these departments do and consider them as careers.

“The emergency services across the board, we’re struggling with getting young people involved with it and seeing what we do,” said Lt. Jim Platt with the Bluffton Fire Dept. “Not only do we just put out fires or go on medical calls but we do search and rescue. We do a whole array of different things other than just put out fires so hopefully, we broadening their view of what the emergency services across the board does rather than just fire, EMS, a police officer. There’s more than just what than what lies at the surface.”

For the scouts, it was an eye-opening experience.

“It was kind of scary at first because there was a lot of responsibility,” said Ben Stevens of Troop 149. “In between organizing scouts and talking to the control center. There’s just a lot of different moving parts that had to work together.”

“It let me kind of get out and work with the kids and even put in the back of my mind where my skills are as a father and as a person who enjoys the wilderness,” Platt said. “Where I’m at, and whether I’m up to snuff with my skills and whether I’m being an instructor, whether I’m teaching to the level that I should be. It helps me set that expectation for myself and for knowing my firefighters but for the public also.”

The boys earned their Communications and Search and Rescue badges through the training.

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