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Media members try their hand at response situations

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

To further the local media's understanding of first responder situations, Central Emergency Services (CES) has sponsored a media day for the last four years. From dressing reporters in Scott Air Packs and leading them into live fire training situations, to placing them in wrecked autos so they can feel what it's like to have a car cut away from a trapped victim of an auto wreck with the jaws of life, to river water rescue and opening an airway of a comatose victim, journalists have gained hands on experience of what CES personnel may experience whenever they answer a call 24 hours a day 7 days a week. "It's an excellent opportunity for us to share the experience with them by giving them a similar hands on experience to try what we may have to do on a daily basis," explained CES Capt. Lesley Quelland. This year's media day focused on airway management, I.V. therapy, nonresponsive and unconscious patient, and what an EMT's initial response would look like when called.

Paramedic Coordinator Paul Perry at Kenai Peninsula College brought over pieces of training equipment to CES for reporters to try their hand at. Apparatus included two mannequins, one adult size and one infant, which simulate actual human behavior controlled by computer programs. "We really appreciate KPC for letting us borrow their equipment, it gives us the opportunity to train with different scenarios with out having to practice I.V. or intubation on ourselves which is what we all did before this type of technology was available," said Quelland. According to Perry the basic computer mannequin training unit costs about $83,000 and the infant mannequin and all the equipment that was set up for the media day represented about $250,000, but before KPC had the equipment hopeful paramedics had to travel to the Lower 48 to receive the necessary training. Perry said that CES has already hired three KPC grads from his classes and Nikiski has hired another six.

Capt. Quelland said the Media Day event has fostered a very helpful relationship with members of the media, "We count on that relationship to establish our communication with the public and this helps us to let the media understand better what is going on, what to expect and why as well as keeping everyone safe in an emergency situation," she said.



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