Black Hawk disaster drill prepares EMS students to respond

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Black Hawk students and first responders participate in emergency drill on April 28, 2017.

MOLINE –

Black Hawk College simulated a real disaster to help its students deal with a crisis.

The campus drill on Friday, April 28, involved an imaginary explosion set off in a classroom.

EMS students had to respond in the moment to practice making critical decisions.

A loud bang began the event as students found themselves thrown into the scene and forced to react.

“Can you think in an emergency situation when you’ve got lots of stressors coming at you and distractors?” asked Marci Miner, Black Hawk EMS director.  “You have to focus on taking care of a patient and saving their lives.”

Students and first responders found more than a dozen imaginary injuries. They called out and tried to distract students as they made their way from room to room.

Volunteer actors from the college portrayed victims in various stages of pain. They were briefed before the event, applied make-up and added tension to the situation.

While this was just a drill, campuses are painfully aware of violent situations that occur across the country.

“The environment that we live in is always changing,” Miner continued.  “We never know what we’re going to encounter, so we want to make sure that students are prepared for whatever life throws at them in this profession.”

The drill is part of final projects for EMS students.  Black Hawk College comes up with a different scenario each year to add surprise into this classroom exercise.

They met afterwards to talk about the drill and ways to improve.