“I’ve never seen this type of scene. … It’s overwhelming,” added Henry, who graduated from Western Reserve High School and the EHOVE Career Center firefighter/EMS program in May. “It’s a great learning experience.”
MetroHealth Medical Center put on the training for North Central EMS and the Norwalk Fire Department. There were sessions Tuesday and today at the Huron County Fairgrounds.
“Big thanks to White’s Automotive Service which donated all the crash vehicles and of course, the fairground,” said Ellen Heinz, Norwalk safety-service director.
Fire Capt. Brett Beers said the training experience wouldn’t have been possible without the cooperation of the fairgrounds and Mike White, owner of White’s Automotive Services, who often donates vehicles for firefighter training.
“It was a great joint training opportunity with the different agencies,” he added. “We don’t get a chance to do that a lot. It was invaluable to do real-world training like that.”
Participants shared the importance of a collaborative training, especially since North Central paramedics and EMTs respond with firefighters to fires, medical calls and crash sites.
“We hope that something like this never happens, but in the event of a mass casualty incident, we want to make sure that we understand what resources are available, what are needed and that everybody collaborates together for the best patient outcome,” said Ashley Ballah, North Central EMS director.
“It’s important to continue building that relationship (with firefighters) and also understand what stress on the system would mean. We usually respond with them quite often, but in these scenarios there (are) additional stresses involved and it’s very important that we all work together to be successful,” she added. “There are always opportunities for improvement, so it’s a good a way to understand what those are.”
About 10 EMT and paramedic students from the Lorain County Community College (LCCC) played victims in the mock crash.
“It was great to see how a mass casualty scene works,” said Anthony Santos, of Cleveland, who portrayed a patient with an injury on his right forearm.
Henry, who tended to Santos, said it helped to focus on one patient during the mock crash, but he also had to make sure the LCCC student was stable and then “move on to another one.” Henry also said EMTs and paramedics have to be able to advise other crew members of what’s going on with patients so they have as much as information as possible when the victims are being treated.
“While I was bagging, I gave them the report,” added the Collins resident.
Santos said the experience taught him about “taking care of the right patient first” and the importance of prioritizing.
David Sirl, EMS coordinator for MetroHealth Medical Center, provided the EMTs, paramedics and firefighters with what to expect before the training event started. He also debriefed them afterward.
“We are really working on their trauma skills assessment relevant to motor vehicle crashes — multiple cars, multiple crashes,” Sirl said.
The training also included making decisions on transporting patients to the appropriate hospitals.
“This is just a joint effort between MetroHealth, Fisher-Titus, North Central EMS, Norwalk fire (and) Citizens Ambulance; they all just came together to put on the training,” Sirl said.
“Any opportunity for all of us to train together is an opportunity to better serve the public because they don’t get an opportunity all that often to train together. They are usually training separately, but certainly an environment where they can train together and do what they do when they show up to a real accident scene is supremely important.”