Monday, May 25, 2015

Pincher Creek Emergency Services hosts barbeque and extraction demonstration

Toni Lucas

On Wednesday evening May 23 Pincher Creek Emergency Services (PCES) celebrated EMS week by inviting the public to a free barbeque and mock traffic accident extraction demonstration.  The event was staged at the parking lot adjacent to the Pincher Creek Fire Hall.  PCES includes Ambulance, Pincher Creek Fire Hall, Beaver Mines Fire Hall, and Lundbreck Fire Hall. 

Before mayhem we BBQ!
Pat Neumann gives a young cyclist a positive citation for wearing his helmet
 During the demonstration fire and ambulance crews arrived to a staged two-car collision that included five 'victims', including four St. Michael's High School drama students and a training dummy. Blake Olson acted as MC, explaining to the unfolding action to the crowd.

Apparently it was a happy accident
Crews assessed and secured the mock scene, stabilized the vehicles, created staging areas, extracted the victims from their vehicle, assessed and treated them based on their mock injuries, and cleared the scene in less than 45 minutes. Many tasks and situations were unfolding at the same time. Prioritizing tasks in order of importance was emphasized, for the safety of the people being rescued, the general public, and the first responders themselves.

The dummy simulated an unconscious a person thrown from the vehicle, used to demonstrate the proper procedure for inserting IVs and a breathing tube. Inside the car were St. Michael's drama students Landon Hochstein, Shianne Neumann, Tasha Hay and Stephanie Courchesne.  They portrayed conscious victims with a  range of injuries, including makeup simulating various wounds. The goal was to safely extricate them from the vehicle.  They were treated as if they were real patients. Treatment efforts that would normally take place in an ambulance enroute was done on tarps so everyone could see how unfolded. One side of the car was blocked by an overturned car and the other side was too mangled to open the doors.  That led to a demonstration of the tools used to extricate victims in such situations, including a pick-axe, a hydraulic spreader, and the jaws of life. Deputy Chief Pat Neumann commented that it is easier when you can just open the car doors.  He knocked the handles off before the demonstration began, forestalling that possibility.

Training of this sort provides first responders a familiarity through repetition with scenarios they may be faced with in the course of their service. Each department has regular training drills throughout the year, working in a variety of seasons and settings. Several of the first responders participating in the demonstration expressed that it was a little unnerving to do this kind of work in front of an audience who were taking pictures and finishing their dinner, but once things got rolling it appeared to be business as usual. Once the demonstration was completed Blake Olsen explained to the crowd that the job was not finished because the scene has to be cleaned up, equipment has to be put away, supplies have to be restocked, there's a debriefing, and of course the inevitable paperwork has to be completed.

Sheri Monk assesses 'victim' Tasha Hay
Organizer and EMT Kate Feist said she appreciated being able to give the demonstration because "We could show people what we actually do."  The EMS staff and volunteers appeared much more at ease with what they do at any incident, cast in a supportive role. When we need them on scene during some of the more dramatic moments of life, they are there.

Tasha Hay
Shianne Neumann

Stephanie Courchesne
Landon Hochstein

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