BSVAC: On Frontlines for Tragedy’s Aftermath; At the Forefront for Emergency Prevention, Intervention
Bernice Elizabeth Green
The Bedford-Stuyvesant Volunteer Ambulance Corps is revving up for its 25th year providing emergency services for the community … with an added focus to its already-extraordinary missions.
“As we prepare for school to open next month, let’s give our children a headstart on life,” says BSVAC co-founder Rocky Robinson, “by giving them the information they need to survive and deal with dangers they already know about in these modern times.”
In 1988, Rocky Robinson, with Victor Perez, founded the Corps as a community-based emergency responder to help the injured, maimed and traumatized. Injured people were virtually dying for help. BSVAC was there to pick up the dead as well.
So while BSVAC’s 25th birthday is celebrated in August, it is September that is closest to Robinson’s soul.
“September is Emergency Preparedness Month and National Children’s Awareness Month,” says Robinson. “It’s also the time when kids go back to school.”
So this year, Robinson, who ran the 2000 Olympic torch through the streets of Bed-Stuy, is again raising the torch to light the way for the school year’s long-distance run: he’s asking guardians to give young people a headstart on emergency prevention and intervention.
As September EMS month approaches, he is asking the village to support the American College of Emergency Physicians’ list of checkpoints designed to assist parents.
“Parents develop an action plan if there is an emergency as well as medical and dental checkups,” he advises. “You should advise children about potential dangers in a way that empowers them.”
Here’s the ACEP checklist.
· Organize your child’s medical history records and emergency medical contact information. Provide copies of this information to your child’s school and any day care providers with instructions to take it with them to the emergency department if your child is sick or injured. The form should include information related to prescription medications, medical problems or previous surgeries as well as pertinent family history and emergency contacts. Free forms can be downloaded at http://www.emergencycareforyou.org/EmergencyManual/MedicalForms/default.aspx. An emergency information form is also available for children with special needs. Complete a consent-to-treat form and give copies to the school nurse and any day care providers to keep in your child’s record and to take with them if your child should need to go to the emergency department. The form will allow caregivers to authorize medical treatment.
· Coordinate with the school nurse and your child’s physician to develop action plans for any health issues such as asthma or food allergies. Communicate these plans to all appropriate caregivers.
· Schedule medical and dental checkups before school starts. Some children will need immunizations. Consider vision and hearing tests since impairment can adversely affect learning. Consider a sports checkup if your child will be playing sports.
· Review and do a dry run with your child of his or her route to school, explaining potential hazards along the way. If your child walks to school, make sure he or she understands potential traffic dangers.
· If your child takes the bus, establish a safe, visible pickup/drop-off spot, preferably with a group of children and in an area where they can be clearly seen by adults. If your child drives to school, make sure he or she obeys all laws and wears seat belts.
· Make sure your children know how to telephone for help. Post emergency contact numbers by every telephone in your home. Have them practice how to call 911 or the local emergency number and give their names, address and a brief description of the problem.
Develop a family emergency plan in case something happens on the way to (or from) and while at school. Be aware of the emergency and evacuation plans for your children’s schools.
“And call BSVAC to arrange for us to speak at your school, PTA meeting, or any community event,” says Robinson.
Donations to the BSVAC should be sent to: bsvac.org or call 718 453-4617