HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The Boy Scout motto is “be prepared.” So when it comes to emergency situations having blood on-hand is necessary.
Raisa Wheeler oversees what’s being called “the blood project.” She’s the Director of Emergency Medical Services at the World Scout Jamboree in Fayette County, West Virginia. She’s making sure there is a supply of blood in the event of an emergency.
“This is a very big deal for all of this to happen,” Wheeler said. “It’s extremely crucial, God forbid, we do have a significant injury.”
It’s such a big deal a National Guard Blackhawk helicopter was called into action. This is the first time the World Scout Jamboree will have a blood supply on standby.
“If the situation is that bad, they do have a really good potential to have massive blood loss,” Wheeler said. “You can bleed out in six minutes.”
The World Scout Jamboree is a high-adventure camp that includes mountain biking, hiking, and ATV riding. With 11,000 acres of remote, forested area and more than 50,000 people, access to blood can mean life or death.
It’s taken a team of people to make sure the blood stays safe and can be returned if it isn’t used. Dominique Wong is a physician and the medical director of EMS at the jamboree and explains why having a blood supply is so important.
“Since it’s such a time-sensitive issue, and the summit is in such a remote area, we thought it was necessary to have these resources available, close,” Wong said.
Gratitude for the blood supply was also shown and, of course, it was done in boy scout fashion.
“In return,” Wong said. “The summit held their own blood drive as a sort of thank you to say, ‘Hey, thanks for helping us out with this blood product.'”
There are 30 medical facilities at the World Scout Jamboree. 10 of those are open 24/7. The Jamboree Medical Services has a staff of approximately 450 medical volunteers on site.
The blood was donated by Cabell Huntington Hospital and St. Mary’s Medical Center.