Students in public safety and health at Johnston Community College tested their response skills during a mock emergency exercise on campus.
The scenario involved the drunk-driving collision of a commercial truck and church activity bus, which left 10 adults and children injured and one person dead.
“It went a lot smoother than last spring; everybody worked together great,” said Jeremy Beal, coordinator of JCC’s paramedic program.
The training exercise involved more than 100 paramedic, basic law enforcement and second-year nursing students and instructors. It required them to collaborate to investigate a crime scene and treat the injured patients. Volunteers from the Smithfield Fire Department took part, extinguishing the fire caused by the collision.
Exercise coordinators learned the importance of communication during last spring’s scenario, Beal said, and incorporated more radios and volunteers to assist with scene control this time.
Jeremy Daughtry, director of fire programs at JCC, reminded the students that while the exercise was designed to expose them to a real-life emergency, it was also a training exercise.
“The main objective of this exercise is to help you understand the roles that every responder plays and to be able to work together on the scene,” he said. “These are the people you will work with in your careers.”
Nursing student Heather Barefoot of Dunn said the hands-on experience was invaluable. “This was excellent and gave us a sense of everything all at once – physical, visual and auditory response, how to deal with belligerent patients, how to do a thorough physical assessment on a real patient and not a simulated mannequin,” she said.
The college hopes to make the training exercise an annual event and incorporate a different scenario next year.