OLEAN, NY -- Olean General Hospital recently welcomed students from Washington West and Eastview Elementary schools to its Buddy’s First Visit program.

In its fifth year, Buddy’s First Visit is a program that welcomes young children to the emergency room to show them what to expect should they be there as a patient. Along with their “best buddy” (stuffed animal), the children learn about bicycle safety, proper hand washing, respiratory issues and sun safety.

In addition to hospital staff and high school volunteers from Olean and Friendship, children meet representatives from Southern Tier Healthcare System, Trans Am and the City of Olean Fire Department. After meeting emergency personnel, seeing the inside of an ambulance and emergency room, the youngsters learn to be more comfortable and understand what happens in the event of an actual emergency.