It sounded and looked real enough. Students on the lawn near the high school tennis courts played the role of tennis ball factory workers injured in an explosion. Each carried a paper outlining their supposed injuries. It was a chance for EMT students to practice what they’ve been learning in the classroom.
“When we have bodies, and actually have to lift that weight, use our partners, use our resources it kind of gives you that sense of reality,” said Minersa Delic, a SLPHS Senior.
In this case there were about 20 people with varying degrees of fake injuries suffered in a pretend explosion.
“With the explosion, you’re going to have all different sorts of injuries from burns to penetrating wounds to respiratory you name it,” said Emergency Medical Services instructor Bill Neiss.
The students’ job was to triage the victims into different categories and get the most serious to the hospital first. It’s harder than it sounds, even when it’s only a drill.
“They’re determining based on talking to dispatch, which hospitals are available, how many beds are available, for what acuity level patients. When those fill up they have to figure out where do they go next. It’s higher level thinking, crucial skills, and we see these all the time,” said Neiss, referring to mass casualty events.
It’s also physically challenging, picking up real people and pushing them across uneven surfaces on a gurney. This was a test to see who can stay calm in an emergency and remember what to do.
“I think communication is the biggest part in this industry. You have to be able to talk to your patients, talk to your co-workers, talk to the dispatcher because if you don’t have that communication you can’t get anywhere,” said Delic.
When these students finish the class in a few weeks, they will qualify as EMT’s. The mass casualty drill is an exercise the Spring Lake Park High School program puts on twice a year.