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(Edgerton, WI) By Jake Magee, Gazette

A Med Flight helicopter landed in an Edgerton Middle School parking lot Friday afternoon.

Fortunately, it was responding to a mock accident, not a real one.

Students playing dead and injured victims of a crash, were cut from a vehicle by Edgerton and Orfordville firefighters and paramedics. The spectacle ended a day of hands-on learning for eighth graders about firefighting and emergency medicine.

Six stations inside and outside the school let students experience what it means to be a firefighter or emergency medical technician. In one room, students tried on firefighter gear and used a thermal imaging camera to find hidden peers.

At another station, kids tipped over traffic cones with powerful streams of water from fire hoses. Students also operated fire extinguishers, learned how to perform CPR and toured ambulances and fire trucks.

Eighth-grader Zoe Thompson's favorite part was learning about being an EMT.

“I think that was really interesting because I'm pretty interested in a medical career. I have a lot of things I'd like to pursue,” she said with a laugh.

In its sixth year, the event is a great way to teach kids as they're gearing up for summer, said Ryan Beckwith, deputy chief of the Edgerton Fire Protection District.

The district meets with second-graders to teach them fire safety at a young age. The middle school event is the last time the district meets with students before they graduate, he said.

“The idea behind today is, now that they're a little older, we can talk about how you can be a little more safe, learning to use a fire extinguisher—just things that are more applicable to the age group now,” Beckwith said. “We wanna give them lessons they can apply.”

The mock crash is an important reminder that fatal accidents can happen, even during the carefree bliss of summer.

“Hopefully it's a safe message ... reminding them it's summer, you're a high schooler now, but you still gotta be careful,” Beckwith said.

Teacher and event coordinator John Schuster pointed out that the event isn't just educational; it also connects students to important people within their hometown.

“For me, as a teacher, it's about community,” he said. “It's tremendously successful.”

The event is definitely more engaging and entertaining than sitting in a classroom and listening to a lecture or even watching a video, Beckwith said.

“It's a lot easier to remember things when it's more interactive,” Thompson agreed. “Hands-on learning teaches a lot better than sitting a classroom all day.”

Thompson was the simulated crash victim firefighters loaded into the helicopter.

“This is a day where everyone is on the same level. Everyone's learning, young and old, and they're all just having fun,” Beckwith said. “It's a fun way to wrap up the end of the year.”

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