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1. Griffin Tech EMT students prepare
the impending disaster drill by stocking
needed emergency supplies.
2. EMT students arrive at the disaster site
ready to assist volunteers posing as
wounded disaster victims.
and 4. EMT students assemble triage units
and assess the injuries of the wounded patients.
5. and 6. EMT students load a wounded patient
into a waiting ambulance to be transported
to Spalding Regional Medical Center.
7. EMT students stabilize a patient who
will be airlifted to the medical center
by an Emory Flight helicopter.
EMT students transfer their patients
into the care of Spalding Regional
Medical Center professionals.
A volunteer enjoys a quick recovery
after being treated for her wounds.
EMT students, volunteers and EMS
professionals gather together after an intense
day of disaster drill training in Griffin.
And something went terribly wrong.
As SWAT Team members raided the lab, there was an explosion. Bodies
were hurled to the ground. Smoke filled the room. Shots were fired.
And when the lights came on and the smoke cleared, EMT students
from Griffin Technical College rushed to the aid of the victims.
This time, everybody was lucky. It was only a drill.
But what a drill.
year, Griffin Tech stages a similar drill for the EMT class. Sometimes,
the drill only consists of somebody with difficulty breathing. Sometimes,
however, as with this drill in March, the re-creation plunges students
into catastrophic circumstances that seem like a nightmare straight
out of a prime-time medical drama.
kind of drill helps sharpen the students’ skills,” says
Major Paul Beamon, instructor and lead disaster coordinator, who
worked closely with the Spalding County Emergency Medical Service
(EMS), Spalding Regional Medical Center, the Emory Flight team and
the Griffin Fire and Police Departments to stage the event. “After
nine months of training, the students are able to use their critical
thinking skills and apply all they have learned.”
year’s drill included elaborate makeup to simulate life-threatening
injuries, a smoke machine and explosive charges to re-create the
danger and confusion the students will face in the line of duty.
the drill began, students were challenged with assessing the injuries
and prioritizing treatment. After a quick assessment, it was determined
that one patient was dead on the scene. The other six were injured
to varying degrees.
checking vital signs, starting artificial breathing and stabilizing
the patients, the students were then required to decide if and how
their victims needed to be transported for further medical care.
The most critically injured patient was airlifted by an Emory Flight
helicopter to Spalding Regional Medical Center. The other five were
taken by ambulance. The students were required to radio the hospital
with the patients’ vital statistics and condition before arrival.
Once at the hospital, the students had to transfer their patients
to the doctors and nurses and explain what they found and what they
had done for the patients.
the victims were safely at the local hospital, the students returned
to Griffin Tech for a debriefing and evaluation of their actions.
After completing Patient Care Reviews (PCRs), the future EMTs began
to relive the evening. Overwhelmed, the students began to realize
the tremendous responsibility that comes with being a first responder
in a crisis.
students love the drills,” Lead Instructor Matt Jackson said.
“Being able to use their skills and training in such a realistic
situation gives them a taste of the real world and a great sense
of satisfaction by knowing that when the time comes, they’ll