Members of the OCFA pose for a photo with Saddleback College President Burnett and the faculty and staff from Health Sciences. (Courtesy of Jenny McCue)
The Orange County Fire Authority donated an ambulance to Saddleback College’s Emergency Medical Services program last Tuesday to be used by the emergency medical technician and paramedic programs.
The ambulance will be used as a mobile classroom providing students the opportunity to practice health emergency scenarios in a confined space similar to what they will be working in as EMT and paramedic professionals, according to president Burnett’s Gaucho Gazette.
This will allow EMT students, the majority of whom have never worked in an emergency vehicle, the ability to work with equipment they will use in the field within a fully-functioning ambulance.
“Before we got to go in it last week, I had never been in an ambulance,” said Chelsea Motak, the department’s senior lab technician and student enrolled in the EMT program. “So that was cool to get to go in and look around and know what to expect when you’re doing your ride-alongs and where things are.”
EMT students are required to complete three ride-alongs, which are eight-hour shifts where students participate within professional ambulances. Paramedic students are required to complete the EMT program and at least a year of basic first response in an ambulance or fire engine before returning for full paramedic certification.
Chelsea Gray, EMT and paramedic program specialist, said the ambulance will be equipped with resources such as functioning oxygen lines, gurneys, and expired medical drugs donated by the OCFA and other fire departments.
Another beneficial acquisition for the program was two 3G human simulators, which the program obtained independently from the OCFA. The simulators will serve as patients during emergency response training exercises. These interactive robotic humans look, feel and react like real humans would in a trauma situation.
“They have all vital signs, they blink, they breath, they speak, they moan, or cough, or cry,” Gray said. “You can send them into full cardiac arrest, you can do almost anything you would want to simulate.”
Gray said their goal is to incorporate the ambulance in with their entire department. Because the new human simulators are wireless, EMTs, paramedics and nurses will all be able to participate in the emergency response simulations.
These simulations include getting the patient onto the gurney and into the ambulance, stabilizing the patient, checking vital signs, administering medical drugs, transporting the patient from the ambulance into the emergency room, as well as others.
“I think just having a hands-on experience will help our students greatly,” said Chelsea Gray, EMT and paramedic program specialist.
Gray’s rough quote for the cost of building this type of simulation within a classroom would be $30,000.
“The Orange County Fire Authority has been a great partner for Saddleback College.” said Burnett. “We feel extremely grateful to them for providing a gift that will benefit students who are pursuing a career in the medical emergency response fields.”