Emergency Training Exercise

It’s no accident that this scene looks like
terrifying clip from the nightly news. The idea behind an active shooter training
like this is to make it as real as possible. That starts with getting these victims into
character. First step: moulage. “Putting wounds on people and making realistic injuries for emergency responders during training exercises.” Modeling putty, prosthetic wounds, and ample amounts of fake blood. The early hours of the morning are spent on attention to detail with each person playing a victim. “We want the injuries to look as realistic
as possible. So when our emergency responders come in to
take care of them they don’t just read a car, they actually see the injury, they see
the blood. It adds some adrenaline, it adds that realism
to the exercise.” Each victim is given specific injuries. “I had a gunshot wound to the leg with severe hemorrhaging so I was bleeding out.” Once the scene is set, the call comes in for
shots fired at the University of Iowa Wellness and Recreation Center. The different law enforcement agencies rush
to secure the scene, arriving in waves. A new component to this training is getting
fire and EMS early access to potential victims. “We constantly continue to try to evolve
and so rather than just do the police response, what we would do, now we are going to incorporate
ambulance, fire. How can we get them in and how can we get people that are injured out to get care quicker.” By running through a real life, real time
scenario like this, the agencies gain valuable lessons on how to best meet those goals. “And so how do we form up a rescue take
force with a couple of law enforcement folks and two to four first responders to go in,
triage those people, treat them rapidly, and transport them off to definitive care. And this was an opportunity to do just that.” Just like in a real life situation, the unstable
environment requires a high level of teamwork. “Communication is key, and it’s actually
one of the toughest things to work through. We just need to practice. Just continue to do it over and over. The better we can communicate the smoother
things like these are going to go.” Many of the people playing victims are EMT students in training, and this exercise provided them with a unique perspective to emergency
response. “I think the most insightful was coming
outside and having them triage all of us. We came out and they just immediately – red,
red, yellow, red – all that. Just seeing how they grouped people together
and figured out what they needed to do first.” The agencies use the opportunity to identify
their strengths and weaknesses in order to make adjustments. The exercise is also a reminder that in this
line of work you have to be prepared for the worst at all times in order to have the best
possible outcome. “University of Iowa, Iowa City, and Johnson
County are not immune to these types of things. We have to have our people trained for those
types of things and we need to be able to exercise those types of things so that we
know if one of those things that we see on the nightly news happens here in Johnson County
that we can all respond in a coordinated response and take care of people with the goal of saving
lives.”

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