Simulator gives emergency responders chance to practice
By Amy Lavalley Post-Tribune correspondent April 9, 2014 11:12PM
Firefighter/paramedic Jim Saunders, left, and engineer/paramedic Eric Wood tend to a patient at the South Haven Fire Department. | Sun-Times Media File Photo
For more on the EMS Mobile Simulation
Laboratory, visit www.in.gov/dhs/3727.htm.
SOUTH HAVEN – A wife comes home to find her 60-year-old husband in an “altered mental state.”
The paramedics ask questions; she provides answers, providing a bag full of the medications he takes. They get to work, checking his vital signs, starting an IV, and putting a tube in his windpipe so he can breath. A camera guides them as they glide the tube in.
The scenario isn’t real – at least it wasn’t Wednesday, when paramedics with the South Haven Fire Department got to use a simulator to deal with situations they don’t always see in the field.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security provided the EMS Mobile Simulation Laboratory to the fire department for three days this week to offer training, teamwork and the chance to work with simulation equipment.
“You can train on real-life scenarios,” said Tina Nabhan, emergency medical services chief for the fire department.
She requested the mobile lab, which is free, and Pam Moore, the EMS simulation manager, brought the mobile lab to the department Monday.
About 30 of South Haven’s full- and part-time paramedics and emergency medical technicians were expected to train on the equipment, Nabhan said, adding the station has a staff of around 50.
“Most of the people here haven’t even seen a simulator, but they should have,” Moore said, before pointing out one of the advantages of the simulators. “We can kill this guy a 100 times a day and hit the reset button.”
In addition to the adult male simulator, Moore also brought a child simulator. She plans on coming back with a pregnant woman simulator.
Firefighter/paramedic Jim Saunders worked on the simulator, and found the experience invaluable.
Putting a needle in a collapsed lung to re-inflate it and putting a tube through a cut in someone’s throat because their airway is blocked are not things paramedics and EMTs with the station do on a regular basis, Saunders said.
“We pray that we don’t, but if it happens, we want to be prepared to handle it,” he said.