H-SANTA MARIA

Nov 2, 2011 8:42 PM by Ariel Wesler

High-tech dummy helps train EMS students

A state-of-the art training dummy is helping students at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria prepare for a future in Emergency Medical Services. They are tested in real life situations without ever leaving the campus.

When Allan Hancock started its EMS Academy, it was the first one in state. Today, I came face to face with their latest high-tech simulation--one of the few in the state.

It may be the smartest dummy you've ever seen. Meet the Sim Man 3G, a high-tech training tool for Allan Hancock's Emergency Medical Services program.

Instructors say they can simulate almost any kind of medical emergency from a major injury to breathing problems and let the students go to work.

"They have to assess the breathing, assess the vital signs. There is no make believe," said Program Coordinator Mike Messina.

The patient can cry, sweat, and even bleed, putting students in real world-high pressure situations. They can make fatal mistakes without fatal consequences.

"We can simulate such intense trauma, and I think it's really cool. It's fascinating," said EMS Student Gregory Daphne. "And you know you're not going to hurt the patient."

While the students tend to the patient, the instructor controls it wirelessly from the next room--playing out different scenarios. I decided to try it myself.

"I've got a really bad pain in my chest," I said into the headset.

But I soon found I was in good hands.

"Ok, sir, take it easy. We're gonna get you wrapped up and take you straight to the hospital," said one of the students.

Messina says nothing takes the place of the real thing, but this is as close as it gets.

"This kind of training and our academy training can shave off six months of in-the-field on-the-job training when they're hired," Messina said.

Messina told me believes this kind of hands-on training will eventually be the standard for all EMS programs.

The dummy was paid for through a federal grant.

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