Medical Students, First Responders to Participate in Annual EMT Training Drill Today

Staff Report From Greenville CEO

Friday, August 23rd, 2019

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and Prisma Health–Upstate will host their annual emergency medical technician (EMT) training drill on Friday, August 23, equipping current and future first responders to address emergencies quickly, safely and effectively.

The event, now in its eighth year, uses realistic simulations of life-threatening events to test the readiness of local emergency responders. The drill also functions as an “exam” for first-year medical students who complete their EMT certifications as part of their required coursework.

This year’s exercise will run from 9 a.m-6 p.m. Friday, August 23 at the UofSC School of Medicine Greenville on the Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Medical Campus.

This year’s drill includes one mass casualty scenario and one motor vehicle accident. To complete the simulation, first responders must identify the threat and secure the scene, triage and treat ‘patients’ on location and assist in transporting ‘patients’ to participating emergency departments.

Partners include Greenville City Police, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Emergency Management, Greenville City Fire, Greenville County EMS and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. Additionally, 150 student volunteers will serve as ‘patients’ with realistic-looking but simulated injuries such as lacerations, fractures, burns and gunshot wounds.

The need for this type of large-scale training across partner organizations has only increased as the frequency of mass casualty events has increased, said Tom Blackwell, MD, FACEP, an emergency medicine physician and director of the EMT training program at the medical school.

“The world is a different place today,” said Blackwell. “It’s critical that individual and group preparedness initiatives be considered, planned, practiced and implemented. Drills such as the ones conducted here provide invaluable training opportunities for our response agencies and help improve their ability to handle such situations should they ever occur in Greenville.”

“This training continues to be critical to our students’ education, not only as a way to test basic clinical skills in the field, but also as a tool to teach them teamwork and communication in tense situations,” continued Blackwell. “When disaster strikes, health care providers are an integral part of the team, and these students leave this event better-equipped to handle the unthinkable.”

Because the exercise utilizes emergency vehicle sirens and may involve pyrotechnics and simulated gunfire, residents near Greenville Memorial Medical Campus were given advance notification of the exercise. Anyone traveling or visiting the campus on Friday should be aware of the exercise in case they notice unusual activity. Traffic patterns on campus will change for this exercise, and all motorists are cautioned to be aware of traffic changes and directional signs.