Rescuers encounter school bus in dramatic crash drill encounter school bus in dramatic crash drill

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

A school bus rollover. At least three are injured, one possible fatality, and the pungent smell of gas permeates the air.

The only entrance for the EMTs who arrive on the scene first is through the bus's side door, which is now facing the sky.

What would normally be a moment of dread is just a chance for learning for 12 students enrolled in the EMT Basic course through Iowa Central Community College.

A skills review and practice session were held Sunday at the Storm Lake Fire Station, giving the EMT students one more chance to get some hands-on experience before taking the final test of the intensive five-month course. Instructors for the course are Matt Imming, EMS coordinator for ICCC, and Cory Macumber, EMT Paramedic Specialist with Buena Vista Regional Medical Center.

There are 114 classroom hours in the EMT Basic course, including lectures and practical skills, and another 24 hours of clinical time. The students are also expected to volunteer on a monthly basis.

For five months, the 12 students met every Wednesday and every other Saturday. They learned such life-saving skills as CPR, splints, immobilization, extrication, airway management and patient assessment.

The students finish this week with a skills test. This weekend's practice session let the students get as close as possible to real situations by using old vehicles and several people to play the role of patients. It also lets the students get the last minute nervous jitters out before the big test, according to their instructors.

"This gives them a chance to encounter different scenarios and practice different skills," Imming said. "Overall, this gives them a chance for some hands-on learning and some roleplay. It gives the fire department a chance to do training, so it's a nice combination of efforts."

Some of the scenarios run Sunday include a bus rollover, a car-train wreck and several farm accidents. Firefighters worked on vehicle extrication with the Jaws of Life, with the EMT students at their side for some invaluable field experience.

The students in the ICCC class come from Pocahontas, Sac City, Schaller, Albert City, Early and Storm Lake.

"These people are going back to volunteer services after this course," Imming said. "It's a level of dedication that I think is great."

There are several levels of emergency medical services, Imming said. They are First Responder, EMT Basic, EMT Intermediate, Iowa Paramedic, then Paramedic Specialist.

Upon successful completion of EMT Basic, the students will be eligible to take the National Basic Test, which allows them to work with volunteer rescue and ambulance services. It also allows them to pursue further training.

"This is the basis for everything they need from here on," Imming said.

Staff from BVRMC has assisted regularly with the EMT Basic course.

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