Three Rivers College holds bi-annual mass casualty training

POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - Three Rivers Community College (TRCC) in Poplar Bluff, Missouri held its bi-annual mass casualty training event on Tuesday, November 20.

It was held at the Bess Activity Center on campus. The training helps to prepare students for emergencies such as wrecks, natural disasters, terrorist attacks or anything that would classify as a mass casualty incident.

Students that took part in the training were nursing students and paramedic students from TRCC.

The simulated scenario was a party to kick off the Christmas season by the Chamber of Commerce. The event held several hundred people and was full. Then an explosion happened and a fireball engulfs the rear of the building. Debris is falling and people are running over each other as they try to escape the building.

"We had 57 simulated casualties," Simulation lab coordinator Mike Willis said. "They (student nurses) came from our first, second and third semester students. We put makeup on them and made them look like actual casualties. Then the EMS people triaged them on scene and transported them to the hospital where our fourth semester nursing students were playing the role of nurses in the emergency room."

TRCC EMS Program Director Tami Cunningham said this training is very important for the students so they are prepared for real world scenarios.

"Once they get out in the real world then their very first run could be a mass casualty," Cunningham said. "A mass casualty is anything that exceeds their supply limit or their availability. If you get a bus crash then you have a mass casualty pretty quickly."

Cunningham said the likeliness of the students seeing a mass casualty situation in the real world is high.

"You get maybe in the fog and you have two or three vehicles that pile up. That's a mass casualty," Cunningham explained. "So anything that exceeds their resources is considered a mass casualty. So they are very, very likely to be able to see this in real life."

Willis said about anytime you watch TV you hear about some type of mass casualty or disastrous event. He said it's very important to be prepared.

"In the United States, the mass casualties are increasing and the severity of the mass casualties are increasing," Willis said. "If you turn on the news, you hear about mass casualties in schools and various other locations or natural disasters like the fires going on in California. So there is always something going on that could potentially result in a mass casualty and we need to make sure that our nurses, paramedics and other first responders are trained and ready to respond no matter what the situation."

EMS student Kristian LeGrand echoes Willis in the importance of being prepared.

"Preparation is always key," LeGrand said. "If you're not prepared for any given situation, then in the event of that situation, then you're going to fail."

A number of area organizations also helped and trained with the students as well. That includes, but is not limited to, Air Evac, Stoddard County Ambulance District, Ripley County Ambulance District, Clearwater Ambulance District, Butler County EMS and more.

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