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Lanier Tech Cumming EMT class goes through mock emergency scenario
Teacher stages fainting in conjunction with agencies for hands-on lesson
WEB looking down

CUMMING -- Physical Therapist Instructor Joy Adams frantically ran out of Building A, where her colleague, Carol Donnelly, lay by the foot of the stairs, papers strewn around her unconscious body.

“Help, help!” she yelled, running to Rebecca Jackson’s EMT class, which was practicing body boards on Lanier Technical College’s quadrangle.

Leaving several of their classmates still strapped into the boards, the emergency medical technician trainees rushed into the building to examine Donnelly.

“Oh my god, this is real,” said 21-year-old Brianna Stroly, as she watched her classmates take Donnelly’s pulse.

“I’m sweating,” another girl said.

Though it was not real, it certainly seemed so to the students in that class.

Donnelly’s medical emergency, which was staged by Jackson, a registered nurse and EMT instructor at Lanier Tech’s Cumming campus, in conjunction with others on Wednesday, served as a real-world, hands-on lesson for the students, who were not previously told about the scenario.

“We’ve got multiple agencies coming in to help the EMT students be able to see what a real call would look like,” Jackson said. “They have not had an opportunity to do that yet; they will not be able to go to clinical until they’ve passed another one of their tests in a couple weeks.

“We thought the opportunity to involve both the school, Forsyth [County] Fire [Department] and Central EMS would be a good opportunity for everybody to see how a real call would unfold. The best learning available is hands-on.”

Jackson said the event had been planned for about a month and a half, with only select faculty and a couple of students being told.

Fire Capt. Rick Hamilton and his men, along with members of the Central EMS ambulance company that serves Forsyth, were staged near the school to aid in the simulation.

Though most students ultimately realized the scenario was staged, firefighter Ben Wilson said he was impressed with all they had checked for before the fire department arrived.

“All in all, they did good,” he said. “They don’t know what they’re getting themselves into, though. If ambulance walls could speak, they’d say a lot.”

Stroly, a student who initially thought the scenario was real, said though the emergency turned out to be fake, situations like it made her want to become an EMT.

“When I was 7 or 8 years old, I was playing upstairs in one of my neighbor’s houses and this kid started seizing and none of the other kids took it seriously,” she said. “I asked a couple of the kids to go downstairs while I stayed with him while he was foaming at the mouth but I finally went downstairs and got the parents to come upstairs and the ambulance came.

“I thought that was cool that I had caught something that the other kids ignored and I got to sit in and room and watch the [EMTs]. I see that kid repetitively and he has bad brain damage — he had reoccurring seizures after that, but I caught the first one, and had they let it go longer, he probably would have just been a vegetable, but now he is slightly [functional].”

Students in the EMT program at Lanier Tech participate in four 12-hour ambulance clinicals and one hospital clinical during the initial program, with those who choose the advanced EMT training participating in an additional eight ambulance, four hospital and one respiratory clinical.

“It’s a full-year program just to become licensed to be an EMT,” Jackson said. “We have a very successful program and a lot of excellent equipment and resources, which makes it pretty awesome.”