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News: Mock disaster drill at Roane State’s Cumberland campus helps students practice life-saving skills

News: Mock disaster drill at Roane State’s Cumberland campus helps students practice life-saving skills

A mock disaster drill at Roane State’s Cumberland County campus involved Roane State EMT students, Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Crossville surgical technology students and local emergency response agencies.

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. – Here’s the scenario: A Greyhound bus crashes at night on Interstate 40 in Cumberland County.

And here’s what happened in this mock disaster: Students in the EMT program at Roane State’s Crossville campus provided emergency care in the field, treating simulated injuries ranging from amputations to broken bones.

The mass casualty exercise took place at night Nov. 9 on the front lawn of Roane State’s campus on Cook Road.

It followed an in-service that evening where the dozen Roane State EMT students prepared a medevac landing zone for an Erlanger Medical Center Life Force helicopter that flew in from the Sparta Regional Airport.

Playing a key supporting role in the training by serving as crash victims were 10 Surgical Technology students from the nearby Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Crossville campus.

“It was an experience I am certain the students will fondly recall years from now,” said Robert Davis, an adjunct faculty member for Roane State and the site coordinator in Crossville for Tennessee Tech.

Davis is helping Amory Lewis relaunch the community college’s EMT program on the Cumberland County campus. Lewis recently obtained an associate’s degree from Roane State and graduated from the college’s paramedic program years ago.

Lewis said it’s been several years since EMT training has been offered in Crossville.

During the in-service part of the program, EMT students learned how to set up a landing zone for the copter and communicate and interact with the crew, Davis said. Then, he said, “They (students) got a close up view of the aircraft and learned why safety is so important.”

Along with the EMT students, some 18 representatives of local emergency response agencies participated in the in-service, including the Crossville and Cumberland County fire departments, Cumberland County Rescue Squad, and Cumberland County EMS.

The surgical technology students, overseen by program director Melissa Pelfrey, volunteered as victims for the mass casualty triage exercise involving the mock bus crash that followed the in-service.

TCAT Surgical Tech student Kelli Dillion is triaged by EMT student Jordan Winningham during a mock disaster drill at Roane State’s Cumberland County campus.

“These students had makeup, prosthetic devices and fake blood applied to mimic various wounds, lacerations, bone fractures and leg amputations,” Davis said. “I went through about six bottles of fake blood.

“EMT students performed triage by assessing each victim’s vital signs and wounds, determining their priority for transport to the trauma center, and providing immediate emergency care measures.”

“Despite the darkness and colder temperatures, both groups of students performed their roles with competence and professionalism, even having fun and laughs throughout the evening,” Davis said.​

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