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RHHS students learn EMS skills during annual ‘Disaster drill’
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Richmond High School students interested in pursuing a career in EMS participated in an on-campus disaster drill Nov. 28. Peyton Wall photo.

Editor’s note: Richmond Hill High School’s annual disaster drill took place Nov. 28. The following story and photos were submitted by Peyton Wall, a student at RHHS, with guidance from teacher Mary Jo Fina.

Nov. 28 marked Richmond Hill High School’s annual disaster drill. The purpose of the drill is to help prepare students for the reality of EMS and show future EMS workers the possible dangerous situations they may need to provide aid in.

During the drill, there were multiple mock-victims that helped demonstrate the actions that must be taken to get control of a dangerous situation.

Disasters and Topics Covered

The disaster drill covered not only the lifesaving skills necessary in the first minutes of a disaster, but also the operational skills such as how to extricate a patient trapped in a vehicle. Along with this, the start of the disaster drill was the demonstration of how to load injured patients on a backboard into a helicopter.

Who was involved?

The disaster drill is the cooperative effort of several different agencies and groups.

Richmond Hill High School students in the Emergency Medical Responder course are partnered with EMS personnel for evaluation of the students’ skills. High school students volunteer their time to be victims, and students in the graphic arts pathway submit theme ideas and t-shirt designs for the drill.

This year’s themes were Santa Claws (with extrication equipment highlighted) and This Day was a Nightmare.

City and County police along with fire personnel responded with vehicles and equipment to further enhance the realism of the drill. This year, cars were donated by Express Towing so the students could observe extrication equipment and practices in use. Air Methods, an emergency air medical transport service, volunteered their time and talent as well - flying in to demonstrate how critically ill patients are triaged, stabilized and flown to the appropriate facility in less than half the time of rescue squad transport.

In addition to the medical aspect of helicopter transport, Air Methods pilot Brett Swintburg highlighted the technical aspect of helicopter use including weather conditions, weight limits and pilot training. Along with the helicopter demonstration, Bryan County EMS workers were also involved throughout the entire drill.

They were there, instructing and guiding students who were participating as mock-first

responders. Because very few accidents require complex extrication, EMS took this opportunity to both show students how to remove trapped victims from vehicles and the life saving skills needed in these situations.

Fire personnel provided a thorough demonstration on how they dismantle a car in order to extricate a victim after a motor vehicle crash. Two non-functional cars were provided by Express Towing for the demonstration; the company’s donation helped pave the way for a demonstration that provided important information for students – especially those considering being an EMS worker.

Who are the victims?

Each year, victims are recruited from the student body at RHHS. This year, students from the Introduction to Healthcare and Early Childhood Education courses volunteered as victims.

Teams of students helped with moulage (realistic models and make up used to make the victim’s injury appear real) for the victims to create realistic injuries. Victims were provided scenarios for their fictional patient and were encouraged to make the scene as realistic as possible. Students acting as mock-first responders were instructed by real EMS workers so that the correct steps were taken to ensure the safety of a victim.

Why was the drill Important?

Students participating in the drill were provided an experience that others can’t ordinarily get. They were provided valuable knowledge on what a healthcare worker would do in disaster situations through first-hand experience.

What the students were taught Nov. 28 was not only important for those interested in going into EMS or healthcare, but for those who could potentially become a real victim in a disaster situation.

By seeing the steps taken by EMS workers in order to ensure the safety of victims who are life-threatening injury, students can rest assured that they are in the capable hands of Bryan County EMS workers.

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Firefighters demonstrate their extrication skills during Richmond Hill High School’s disaster drill on Nov. 28 at the school campus. Peyton Wall photo.
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