Fort Calhoun Fire and Rescue member Don Casey listened to the patient's chest.
“Let's roll him to check for injuries,” he said.
The patient, a 45-year-old man who fell off a roof, was one of two training situations rescue personnel found themselves in Wednesday during a specialized training with the University of Nebraska Medical Center's Simulation In Motion-Nebraska (SIM-NE) program.
This is the second time the department has hosted the free training.
The exercises are conducted in a 44-foot-long, customized truck that provides mobile, real-life training experience designed to enhance life-saving skills for those in rural areas.
The program is designed to bring training to those associated with rural emergency medical service agencies and rural critical hospitals in their home location rather than having learners travel to larger cities for training.
Fort Calhoun Fire Chief Dan Mallory said the realistic training is beneficial.
“We can get in there and the mannequins actually breathe and they have a pulse — same thing a patient would,” he said. “That's what makes it so valuable to have them come out and do the training.”
Sixteen Fort Calhoun rescue personnel divided into teams. Each team worked through two scenarios with the mannequins. The second patient was a child suffering from an asthma attack.
Mike Miers, lead trainer and southeast regional coordinator with SIM-NE, said the rescue personnel receive an overview of the simulator, but then “very little” information about the patient.
“We page them out just like they are paged out to a real call,” he said.
In the case of the man who fell from the roof, the Fort Calhoun department members assessed the patient, determined he had a head injury and transported him to a trauma center.
Miers said when many of the rescue personnel first trained to be an EMT or paramedic, this technology wasn't available. In many training sessions, a classmate would play the patient and the student would need to look to the instructor for information.
“That's completely removed from this,” he said. “We're in the control room with the door shut so they don't get to ask us anything. They just have to talk to the mannequin to figure it out.”
SIM-NE has four simulation trucks based in Lincoln, Norfolk, Kearney and Scottsbluff. The program was initially funded with a $5.5 million grant from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsely Charitable Trust.
That grant is now completed. Miers said partners and longterm funding solutions are being sought to sustain the training program. Donations can be given to the NU Foundation.