It has been several years since an emergency service project has been attempted in the Boy Scouts of America Caddo Area Council, but this past weekend turned out to be almost perfect for a mock tornado to touch down at Camp Preston Hunt, with approximately 85 Scouts ranging in ages from 11-17 taking part in this emergency disaster drill.

Around 65 of the Scouts acted as first responders in this mock mass casualty incident in order to meet one of the requirements of the Emergency Preparedness merit badge. This particular merit badge is very complex, and there is much more to complete than the emergency service project, but taking part in one of the those is easier said than done.

Just ask coordinator Donna Standridge.

"This is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but so worth it. These boys now have a good foundation if they are ever called upon to be involved in anything like this in real life."

A good foundation is right, thanks to numerous volunteers like Dr. Matt Young who discussed in-the-field first aid and transport techniques to get those who could be moved back to the Command area, and those who could not be moved taken care of until help could arrive.

Jim Weaver, Townsquare Media

Chief Stephen Gass from the Texarkana College Police Department gave a thorough overview of the Incident Command System, which is a standardized on-scene management structure. Following that, Matt Allensworth instructed how a 72-hour emergency kit should be designed to fit a family's and individual's needs.

After a lunch break of delicious pizza along with some mighty tasty desserts and cookies made by several members of the planning committee, the boys gathered back in the dining hall to get ready for the scenario to begin. That's when it happened. The music was interrupted by a news bulletin that a tornado had been spotted on the ground east of Texarkana near Genoa. Lightning struck and the lights went out.

And the boys were quickly instructed to get under their tables until the danger had passed. Within a few minutes the noise of the tornado and sirens started to calm and for the first time, the scouts knew that their disaster scenario was going to be based on a tornado strike on the backside of Camp Preston Hunt.

The Scouts selected their group leaders, who quickly met to discuss the best way to conduct a search of the campgrounds, then set out to search for, treat, and transport victims, which they did admirably.

Thanks to our volunteer Scout leaders who give of their time and talents each week to help raise tomorrow's leaders through the Boy Scouts of America program.

Thanks to LifeNet Air and Ground Ambulance Services and their crews.

Here are photos from the event.