Students Get Gory to Aid in Disaster Relief Training - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather, Events

Students Get Gory to Aid in Disaster Relief Training

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About 100 Northwest Pennsylvania volunteers from different branches of disaster relief gathered on Saturday for a training session at Central Tech High School. 

And more than a dozen of Central's students simulated the aftermath of a horrible bus accident. Each sported fake, but very grizzly injuries - some had missing limbs, others with serious burns. 

The students all sported their injuries with eagerness and gusto, but the real purpose of the gore is to prepare emergency response crews with what they might see at a disaster scene. 

"When you're going to a disaster situation, you don't know what you're going to see, you don't know what the reactions of the victims will be, and this gives you great insight on what to prepare for" said Janet Damico, leader of Erie's Community Emergency Response Team. "

Damico said prior to Saturday's training session, she had never seen what serious chemical burns look like, but now knows. 

Classifying and treating injuries was just one part of the training session that brought together the scores of volunteers. 

The program's main purpose is to ensure that each branch understands how their responsibilities fit in with the roles of other branches.

"It can be critical because when disaster hits, you don't have the time to be figuring out what everybody's role is and what they do. You just have to have it become second nature, and that's today," said Russell Bieniek, team commander of the State Medical Assistance Team.

"They can do their piece and they'll know that when they turn the patient over, the next group will know what to do and how to care for those patients," he said. 

According to Bieniek, one of the biggest instances of crews bumping elbows at a disaster scene is when helping wounded victims. 

"Everybody is so energetic in getting things done that if a patient needs to be moved, everyone will leave to go do that. After today, they'll realize 'No, there are people to do that, and I have to get ready for once they arrive to us,' " Bieniek said. 

Certain teams of volunteers classified the students' "injuries" while others cleared the scene.

Though The students played the role of victims on Saturday, many hope to join the emergency response side. Some are already enrolled in Central Tech's EMT course. 

"I've learned CPR, trauma assessments, medical assessments, suctioning, and just a whole bunch," said Deangelo Dixon, a junior at Central. "I plan on being an EMT and also joining the army, and using my skills there," he said.

 

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