Sixteen students from Anne Arundel Community College’s Paramedic Certificate Program participated in a mass casualty incident (MCI) simulation within a decommissioned plane at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) June 5.
“Each year, we seek out new and exciting challenges for our graduating paramedic students,” said Joe Cvach, captain and paramedic at Anne Arundel County Fire Department and AACC adjunct faculty member. Cvach was the lead instructor during the training. “The scenario also demonstrated the importance of incident command, communication and collaboration with various agencies in the region.”
Volunteers from the Anne Arundel-Annapolis Community Emergency Response Team (AAACERT), along with students’ family and friends, simulated the MCI victims. Each victim received a card assigning the injury and age they were to portray in the scenario.
The student paramedics’ first priority was to identify victims with life-threatening injuries quickly. They also needed to plan transportation for any immobile victims. The narrow confines of the aircraft provided an additional challenge. Once victims were safely out of the plane, other students took over to monitor the victims’ status and coordinate hypothetical transportation to a hospital.
“The paramedic program believes that training with different organizations and varied situations is a necessity for our students,” said Tina Clark, AACC assistant professor and Emergency Medical Technician department chair.
Each graduating class faces this type of training, however this is the first time it has been staged at BWI. The BWI Fire and Rescue Department and Anne Arundel County Fire Department attended and acted in the roles they would normally take. They also provided feedback during the post-event evaluation.
“The different departments that help us let our students become familiar with different entities and how to coordinate bigger incidents. The support for our program from surrounding jurisdictions is phenomenal,” Clark said.
Most jobs have unexpected challenges. The MCI exercise introduced these soon-to-be-graduates to working within an unfamiliar setting, calming panicked patients, coordinating different groups and roles, and even racing against the threat of rain.
“This event is a culmination of all their skills learned throughout the program,” Cvach said. “For some of our students, it is an opportunity to perform in an arena unlike any they have participated in before.”
The students will graduate from the program and take the National Registry’s practical exam on Aug. 17, 2019. All are expected to pass. AACC’s yearlong program teaches skills such as communicating using medical terminology, using advanced life support equipment and providing direct patient care for a diverse group of patients. Students who successfully complete the AACC paramedic program are prepared for state and national certification as a paramedic. Learn about AACC’s paramedic program at https://www.aacc.edu/programs-and-courses/credit-and-degree-seekers/emergency-medicine/.
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