Emergency responders and students undergo simulated collaborative emergency training
Emergency vehicles were on the Union University campus on Monday, with lights on and sirens blaring for a few minutes.
People were seen in the Bulldogs football stadium lying on the ground in varying degrees of distress and injury.
Emergency vehicles were responding to a call from a bleacher collapse, and members of the Jackson Fire Department, Madison County Fire Department, Medical Center Emergency Management and Air Evac were on hand to help.
Luckily, the bleacher collapse wasn’t real, and neither were the injuries.
What was real was the training opportunity for on-site emergency personnel as well as students in Union’s athletic training program and paramedic and advanced EMT programs at Jackson State Community College.
“This is our fourth year doing this, and it’s a way to give our students something close to a real-world experience in a mass casualty situation,” said Jonathan Allen, assistant professor of sports training at Union. “We’ve done different scenarios in different years, and collapsing the bleacher is what we did this year.”
The exercise began with Allen and other Union faculty leading cohorts of students from the baseball and softball stadium to the football stadium, blindfolded. They were lined up outside the stadium fence facing each other when the blindfolds were removed.
Almost immediately after their sight was restored, the students heard a lot of screaming coming from the other side of the wall inside the stadium after Allen gave the signal for the event to begin.
“I calmly told them the bleachers collapsed at a major sporting event here in West Tennessee, and they had to deal with it,” Allen said.
Twenty people were involved in the script. Injuries ranged from simple lacerations to broken bones to major head trauma with death. Students were instructed to contact emergency personnel, triage, field treatment and to safely remove the emergent from the scene and request assistance.
After three sets of drills, the students and emergency personnel returned to Fred Delay Gym for a moment to discuss how it all went.
“It’s important for students and professionals to come back and discuss what went well and what didn’t so that if they have a similar situation, they have an idea of how to fix it. manage,” Allen said. “And emergency personnel who have been here for several years say they can see a noticeable growth in the number of students, and it also helps them train better for these situations.
“And for our students, for those who don’t know, sports coaches do more than tap athletes’ ankles. Health care is health care, and a broken bone is a broken bone, regardless of the environment in which it is broken. So even though we mainly deal with athletes, many of our students continue to work in different locations, and one of our students is working on a plan to get into emergency health care after graduating from here. So there are many different ways to help these exercises.
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