In March 2016, Captain Sherri Shaw, Commanding Officer of the 279 Elk Valley Air Cadets sent out an e-mail to a few of her contacts looking for volunteers to assist with training a youth cadet first aid team. To her delight, her message reached Patrick Sorensen, Blaster and Mine Rescue team member at Line Creek Operations, (LCO) and Tanya Kinch, Clerk First Responder, Sparwood office, who came to the team’s rescue and offered up their support. And while the 279 squadron had not entered into a regional first aid competition in eight years, with Tanya and Patrick on board as the new coaches it was time to show their community what a little team with a lot of heart could accomplish.
From then on, Sunday mornings were spent at the squadron’s headquarters, with Patrick and Tanya working with 11 dedicated cadets who were split into a junior and senior first aid team. The coaches refreshed the cadets on basic first aid skills, then worked though the priority action approach, scene assessment, primary survey, critical interventions, transport decisions and secondary survey. They also worked hands-on with automated external defibrillator (AED) machines and CPR dolls to refine their skills.
The cadets practiced diligently to ensure they were prepared and confident in their skills, and then in May, the two teams travelled to Castlegar to attend the annual regional first aid competition. The event included individual written exams and a first aid scenario for all teams present; teams were then scored based on team members’ written exam results and a group mark was issued for the practical component.
All the hard work, practice and coaching paid off—both the junior and senior first aid teams from the 279 Elk Valley squadron placed first in the competition in their respective categories. Senior team captain Braydon Furedi and junior team captain Kelton Kinch also placed first for top team captains at the event.
If that were not enough, the junior first aid team of 279 Elk Valley Squadron was awarded the Clarke Rose Bowl Award for the highest scoring squadron in the tri-service first aid competition.
The cadets, and their coaches Tanya and Patrick, are now looking forward to defending their title at next year’s competition, to be held in Cranbrook on April 8, 2017.
“The squadron’s success is a reflection of the dedication of 11 great kids from a small community who truly believe in themselves, each other and their 279 Elk Valley Cadet family,” said Tanya. “Patrick and I are so happy to be a part of this experience with them, particularly as it relates to encouraging youth to be courageous safety leaders amongst their peers.”