Paramedics learn how to cope with mass casualty situations | News | The Press and Standard
by The Press and Standard | August 18, 2017 5:00 am
Last Updated: August 16, 2017 at 11:46 am
A quiet Aug. 10 morning on Oakland Drive was disturbed by gunfire, the sound signaling the start of a mass casualty exercise conducted by the Lowcountry Regional EMS Council.
As the gunfire sounded, the Lowcountry Regional EMS Council’s paramedic students, stationed outside the facilities at 237 Oakland Drive, readied themselves.
Inside the building, members of the Summerville Police Department’s SWAT, moved into action to confront and contain a gunman.
That phase of the training session completed, victims began coming out the doors of the facility into the waiting arms of the paramedic students, who ascertained the level of injuries, offered preliminary treatment of the victims and moved them to waiting Colleton County Fire-Rescue ambulances assigned to the training session.
Eventually, 28 victims were brought out of the building. The victims were members of the paramedics’ class that started training in July. Those treating the victims were paramedic students nearly finished with their training.
The victims were then moved to the Colleton Medical Center’s Emergency Department, which was also conducting a mass casualty training session in conjunction with Lowcountry Regional EMS.
“We were very pleased with the students’ performance for the mass casualty incident drill,” said Paramedic Instructor Austin Mandeville. “It is important that our students have the opportunity to face these catastrophic circumstances while in training so in the event of a disaster, they are prepared.
“Of course,” Mandeville added, “there is always room for improvement but that’s what education is about. We will have a similar exercise for each paramedic class when they reach the MCI phase of their education.”
Conducting an exercise of this proportion and realism allows paramedic students at the facility to practice the skills they have learned and developed over the course of the past year, along with emphasizing the importance of inter- and intra-agency communication and cooperation.
Lowcountry Regional Emergency Medical Services Council, is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization serving the 12 counties in the Lowcountry region by providing training, consulting and technical assistance to emergency services agencies and other allied health agencies and personnel.
It is the express purpose of the EMS Council to assist in the development of emergency health care systems within EMS Region IV of South Carolina, and to increase the accessibility and continuity of the overall quality of health care in the Lowcountry Region of South Carolina.
“We have been in Walterboro for almost a year and were previously in North Charleston and have been teaching students since 1976,” Mandeville explained. “We offer all ranges of EMS training including EMT, Advanced EMT, Paramedic, as well as American Heart Association and National Association of EMT courses.”