Major disaster simulation

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Ballarat Campus resembled a disaster zone as Paramedicine students practised their skills under real-life conditions.

Paramedicine students conducted a simulation of a major gas leak on the Ballarat Campus on Thursday 23 July with such professionalism that the exercise resembled a genuine disaster zone. 

Set the task of recreating a major disaster incident, ACU students were required to implement major incident response plans and manage of a large-scale multi-casualty incident.

Drama students from Federation University played the role of those suffering casualties from an LP gas leak. Ballarat Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers provided smoke machines for a sense of realism and worked to manage hazards and free the trapped and injured.  
Disasters are complex events that require an extraordinary and coordinated response from emergency services.  The management of the scene is dynamic and paramedics must apply principles of command, control and triage in a situation of limited resources.
The final-year Bachelor of Paramedicine students were required to utilise all of the knowledge and skill acquired over the past four years to locate, triage (allocate a priority), extricate, treat and evacuate multiple casualties from the scene, with the aim of doing the greatest good for the greatest number.
Representatives from the CFA and ACU Faculty of Health Science staff were on hand to provide supervision and to lend authenticity to the exercise.
Senior Lecturer in Paramedicine Dr Helen Webb organised the event and said it was a valuable exercise for the students to experience real-life situation, giving them the opportunity to showcase their abilities. 

“Their performance at the simulation was exceptional. Two Ambulance Victoria observers, who are both designated Health Commanders, were extremely impressed with the scene organisation and the ability of the students to triage the injured, clear the scene and set up and run a casualty clearing station.”

Dr Webb said each of the ACU students involved would receive the Major Incident Medical Management and Support (MIMMS) commander qualification following the disaster simulation and successful completion of assessments:  MIMMS is an internationally recognised qualification that is a pre-requisite for State Medical Assistance Teams and the Australian Medical Assistance Team. 
ACU offers a dual four-year Bachelor of Nursing/Bachelor of Paramedicine at its Ballarat, Brisbane and Canberra campuses, and a three-year Bachelor of Paramedicine at its Melbourne and North Sydney campuses. For more information about courses, visit the course guide.