Students Handle Mock Disaster At Calhoun Community College

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - If you happened to drive past Calhoun Community College late this morning, you probably saw all of the activity. Police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, even two MedFlight helicopters, all on-campus. Not to worry, though, they were all taking part in a drill, a mock disaster. It's one of the final exercises before the next class of paramedics, EMT's, nurses, even surgery tech students must go through before graduation.

Yeah, if you were just driving by, you'd have thought something terrible was happening. But these are college students, practicing, in case something terrible does happen. Calhoun Community College makes the annual drill as realistic as they feasibly can. It's all designed to give those who may one day respond to such a crisis an idea of what they might face.

Today's exercise was based around a shooter, loose in the building. Police responded first, making certain the scene was clear, safe for medical personnel to enter. Then the EMS students go to work, identifying the most critical injuries, moving one victim after another to waiting ambulances.

They're transported to a mock hospital on another part of the campus, where nursing students take over in a make-believe emergency room. The worst of the injuries are moved to one of two mock operating rooms, where surgery tech students assist in emergency operations on the injured.

In the end, drained but exhilirated, the students are debriefed and given a chance to reflect on what they've seen, what they've done and what they've learned. They'll leave this make-believe crisis better prepared for what the real world may offer.

Looking closely, a few of the students looked rather young. Turns out several Bob Jones High School students, who are participating in the EMS Dual Enrollment Program at Calhoun, were also taking part in the drill. It gives high school students a chance to get a head start on their future.

-- Al Whitaker

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