Emergency personnel, students go through a mock emergency | Tennessee News
From BRANDON SHIELDS, The Jackson Sun
JACKSON, Tenn. (AP) – Emergency vehicles were present on the Union University campus on April 25, lights on and sirens wailed for several minutes.
People were seen at the Bulldogs football stadium lying on the ground in varying degrees of distress and injuries.
Emergency vehicles responded to a grandstand collapse, and members of the Jackson Fire Department, Madison County Fire Department, Med Center Emergency Management and Air Evac were on hand to help.
Thankfully, the collapse of the stands wasn’t real, and neither were the injuries.
What was real was the training opportunity for existing emergency personnel, as well as students in the union athletic training program and the paramedic and advanced EMT programs at Jackson State Community College.
“This is the fourth year we’ve been doing this, and it’s a way to give our students a real-life experience in a high-victim situation,” said Jonathan Allen, assistant professor of athletic training at Union. “We ran different scenarios in different years and the grandstand collapse is what we did this year.”
The exercise began with Allen and other Union faculty leading cohorts of blindfolded students from the baseball and softball fieldhouse to the football stadium. They were lined up face-out outside the stadium fence as the blindfolds were removed.
Almost immediately after their sight was restored, the students heard a great deal of screaming from the other side of the wall inside the stadium after Allen gave the signal for the event to begin.
“I calmly told them that the grandstands collapsed at a major sporting event here in West Tennessee and they needed to deal with it,” Allen said.
A few dozen people were involved in the scenario. The injuries ranged from simple lacerations to broken bones to severe head injuries with one fatality. The students were tasked with contacting emergency personnel, triage, on-site treatment and safely removing the emergent from the scene and bringing him to the rescue.
After three rounds of the exercise, the students and rescue workers went back to Fred Delay Grammar School to spend some time discussing how everything had gone.
“It’s important for students and professionals to come back and discuss what went well and what didn’t, so that if they’re in a similar situation, they have an idea of how to handle it,” Allen said. “And the rescuers who have been here for several years say they’ve seen a noticeable growth in the students, and it also helps them be better trained for situations like this.
“And for our students, for those who don’t know, athletic trainers do more than just tape ankles for athletes. Healthcare is healthcare, and a broken bone is a broken bone, no matter the environment in which it was broken. So while we primarily deal with athletes, many of our students work in different locations, and one of our students is working on a plan to get into emergency medicine here after he graduates. So there are many different ways that these exercises help.”
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