CHARLOTTE -- Charlotte area scouts are getting some special training in search and rescue as part of a joint effort by area municipal agencies to improve public safety.
The boy scouts were in Reedy Creek Park Saturday receiving training designed to simulate a real-life missing person scenario. Experts from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Charlotte Fire Department and the Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation Department were on hand to help with the training. It’s part of the scouts work to receive a new search and rescue merit badge.
"They're going to have to do it as if there was a lost person. They're going to do an interview, they're going to send out hasty team searches. They're going to map out areas that they need to search," said Scott Stiles of the Charlotte Fire Department.
While the scouts will be the ones learning, officials say the exercise is helping area agencies streamline their efforts as well.
"Everybody's kind of doing their own little thing off to the side. We really wanted to bring that together to help everyone help each other in search and rescue situations," said Chris Hunter of Mecklenburg County's Park and Recreation Department.
The boys participating in the training say they think it’s a lesson critical to their mission as scouts.
"That's part of scouting. If you're out searching and exploring and someone goes missing, you need to know how to search," said Aiden Stiles, a star scout.
It’s those critical life skills that scout leaders say they hope these boys keep with them for years to come.
"Seeing the other side of this, how it happens, how people look for people gives these boys an understanding that certainly will be a life skill they can use all their lives," said Hunter.
This is the first time that three municipal agencies have teamed up to train the boy scouts in search and rescue strategies.