Students of Barton Community College’s first responder programs stepped out of the classroom to test their skills in life-like emergency scenarios during Field Ops Day on Saturday.
Students from the Criminal Justice, Medical Assistant, Nursing and EMS programs participated in a variety of intense, realistic scenarios designed to be as close to the real thing as possible. Volunteer “patients” from all over the community allowed themselves to be battered and bloodied via sometimes gory make-up to give the appearance of realistic traumatic injuries ranging from severe lacerations to broken bones and burns.
Matt Connell, Barton’s Adult Education Coordinator, volunteered as a patient with an arm laceration.
“This is a great experience for the students,” he said. “It gives them near-real-life practice. It’s just a good use of time to volunteer for this training.”
Scenarios ranged from a rollover accident to heart attacks, parking lot fights and welding equipment explosions. Most of the scenarios were set up so a patient is transported from the scene to a mock emergency room, which was populated by nursing and medical assistant students.
Patients and suspects could also be questioned or detained by the Criminal Justice students throughout the scenarios depending on circumstances. The experience is designed to be all-encompassing.
Instructor and Coordinator of the EMS Program Jenny Ladd coordinates the event and said everyone who participates agrees to be completely serious and in-character so that the students get as genuine of an experience as possible. For most of the students, it’s their first taste of a real emergency.
EMT Student Micah Winget said he likes the fast pace.
“I think being a paramedic is a higher adrenaline job and more fun than maybe being an ER nurse,” he said.
Winget plans to finish his EMT certification this semester, then pursue his associate degree to become a Paramedic. He was first inspired to become a paramedic during a mission trip to Africa where a friend fell out of a tree and suffered a deep cut to her leg. With a tourniquet in place to slow blood loss, he helped his friend to the hospital.
He experienced his first Field Ops Day scenario Saturday morning that might have sparked some déjà vu. He had to tend to a laceration on the arm of an individual who smashed a car window and the injuries required a tourniquet and transport to a hospital.
“It’s really valuable,” he said of the day of realistic training exercises. “I’m grateful for the experience and preparation this provides.”
Paramedic Nathanael Hawkinson of Reno County EMS has been through two Field Ops Days as a student and volunteered for his third as a mentor Saturday morning.
“This is the best education experience these students can have, short of a real call,” he said. “I know this type of training has been beneficial to me and others I’ve worked with. This is as close as you can get to the real thing.”
The 2017 Field Ops Day involved EMS personnel from Claflin, Reno County, Russell County, Great Bend Fire Department, Hoisington and Lindsborg; law enforcement personnel from Barton County Sheriff’s Office, Hoisington Police Department, Russell County Sheriff’s Office and Barton County 911 Dispatch; other personnel or support from Midwest LifeTeam, Wesley Medical Center, Midwest Medical Transport Co. and Via Christi Burn Services and more than 40 community volunteers and 56 students working through 114 scenarios.