Calhoun students put their learning to the test during disaster simulation

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DECATUR, Ala. - Calhoun Community College went to great lengths on Thursday to give students a chance to put their learning to the test during a disaster simulation.

Brandon Shaw is a Bob Jones High School senior and an EMT student at Calhoun. He used his medical training while showing off his acting skills during the simulation, playing the part of a person involved in a crash..

"People are not going to be always nice and calm so they said be crazy, get after them and heckle them until they tell you to stop, so I did," Shaw said.

Calhoun students and several area emergency crews took part in a mass casualty simulation on Thursday morning on the college's Decatur campus.

"A larger group of these students will graduate in about 40 days so they're fixing to go into the workforce, and they may actually have to encounter something like this," said Bret McGill, Dean for Health Sciences.

One of those students is Chelsea Franks.

"The hands-on experience is where you learn," Franks said. "With a situation like this where we're doing the mass casualty event, this is real life. You have things like this happen all the time and they come into your E.R.'s and things like that so we've already got first-hand experience."

Nearly 180 people simulated an outdoor scene in which a drunk driver hit a crowd of people.

"Everything up to this point has been lectures and exams," McGill said. "Now they actually get to put it into practice so they get to perform what they've learned."

From blood and guts to ambulances and MedFlight, those involved worked through the chaos and devastation of a disaster.

"It's a real life experience so you realize how to triage patients, who gets care first," Shaw said.