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Barton students face lifelike first-response scenarios
Field Ops Day simulates intense scenes
Barton EMT students assess a mock rollover car accident involving numerous injuries and treat patients. The large-scale scenario is designed to prepare students for chaotic situations requiring assistance from multiple agencies, forcing them to communicate and prioritize quickly and effectively on-site.

Barton Community College Criminal Justice, Medical Assistant, Nursing and EMS students get a taste of reality before they begin their careers. Field Ops Day is the college’s annual day-long set of intense, realistic scenarios designed to test students’ knowledge and ability to respond in-the-moment. The 2019 Field Ops Day was Saturday on campus.

Volunteer “patients” from all over the community allowed themselves to be battered and bloodied via sometimes gory make-up to simulate realistic traumatic injuries ranging from scuffs, burns and bruises to broken bones and deep lacerations. Wrecked cars were also towed onto campus and staged for a mock major car accident.

The roughly 40 scenarios included simple doctor’s office visits, heart attacks, dog bites, a rollover accident and much more. Many scenarios were set up so a patient is transported via ambulance from the scene to a mock emergency room staffed by nursing and medical assistant students. Several local EMS teams donated their time and use of their ambulances.

Not all the scenarios involved medical emergencies. Some volunteers had to stay in character as crime victims or unruly citizens as they were questioned or detained by the Criminal Justice students.

EMS Programming Specialist Jenny Ladd said the experience is designed to be all-encompassing. Everyone who participates agrees to be completely serious and in-character so the students get a genuine experience. For most of the students, it’s their first taste of a real emergency.

Tim Fieser is a first-year EMT student at Barton, and served as his crew’s team lead during the day’s scenarios. He said Field Ops Day was realistic and useful.

“This helps us get a real feel for it and gives us as much experience as we can get without actually working in the field,” he said. “Our team was able to identify things we could work on in the first scenario and we already made corrections and improved for the next one. It helps that everyone stays in character and even the bystanders play along.”

Fieser spent some time in the Army and was looking for a career where he could continue to be of service to society. 

“I like it a lot so far,” he said. “This path was a good decision for me.”

After he finishes his EMT training he hopes to become an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician (AEMT).

Garret Matthews, AEMT at Mitchell County EMS, volunteered his time as an ambulance driver Saturday. It was his first time at Barton’s Field Ops Day. He said the event’s quality was top notch and is an important step in the education process for aspiring EMTs.

“It puts them in an ambulance and gets them ready for the actual job,” he said. “For being fake, it’s as real as you can get.”

The 2019 Field Ops Day received support from numerous agencies, including LifeSave Flight Service, Russell County EMS and Sheriff’s Office, Barton County Sheriff’s Office, Hoisington EMS, Mitchell County EMS, Great Bend Fire and EMS, Great Bend, Ellinwood and Hoisington Police Departments, Barton County Emergency Communicators and Marshall’s Towing, Barton Community College faculty, staff and students and more.

The elaborate event required help from almost 100 community volunteers to provide enough scenarios for Barton’s 18 EMS students, two medical assistant students, 14 registered nurse students and nine criminal justice students.