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EMS students gain experience with mock crash

Krystle Wagner • May 17, 2019 at 10:00 AM

PORT SHELDON TWP. — Students groaned and complained of fake injuries as high school seniors worked to comfort them and address their injuries Thursday morning.

Careerline Tech Center emergency medical services and nursing students were caring for the Young Adult Service students during a simulated bus crash. 

Throughout the week, the EMS students participated in a series of simulations to use the skills they spent the year learning. Earlier in the week, they partnered with Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue to practice responding to park/beach emergency scenarios and the Olive Township Fire Department for vehicle extrication training.

Although the students have practiced treating each other, the weeklong events put them in a more realistic situation, said Kim Schrader, emergency medical services instructor.

“It gives them an opportunity to really put their best foot forward and use those skills,” Schrader said.

When the buses arrived at the school, Young Adult Services student Andrew Hoehne said he complained of fake chest pains. Once the students who had more minor fake injuries were transported off the bus, EMS students moved Hoehne onto a backboard and then onto a stretcher.

“It was scary at first, but I did it,” he said.

Hoehne said he previously watched the Sunset City Fire Department in Utah, where his dad was a captain, train. He said he looked forward to the simulated bus crash because it helped give the EMS students experience and training on how to properly treat patients.

Going into the simulation, Richard Harris felt nervous but was soon comforted by EMS students tending to his fake broken ankle. He said it was “fun,” and the EMS students made him feel comfortable.

“They made me feel like I was part of their group,” Harris said.

Cassady Watts, a Young Adult Services teacher, said her class participated in the simulation as a way for her students to learn what happens in emergency situations, and it gives EMS students the chance to work with individuals with disabilities, some of whom are nonverbal.

“It’s really interesting to watch those students attempt to communicate with our students,” she said.

Taking the EMS course is an eye-opening experience to what first responders encounter and situations not always represented in the media, said Noah Locascio, a Spring Lake High School senior. Going into the simulation, Locascio said he felt nervous having students from outside his class play the roles of patients, which was a first for him.

Ian LaFave, a Hudsonville High School senior, said the EMS class is a good way to “get their feet wet” and learn if they want to pursue a career in the field.

At the end of the EMS class, students will be certified in CPR. Depending on their proficiency, they will also be eligible to take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians exam. If they pass, they will earn their basic state EMT license.

Locascio encourages everyone to take at least a basic CPR class.

“It could save someone’s life,” he said.

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