State-of-the-art ambulance simulators coming to West Virginia

Officials hopeful it will bolster department numbers
Published: Sep. 13, 2022 at 5:54 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) - Emergency services across the state are getting more support. It’s all part of the $10-million allocated by Governor Justice through the CARES Act back in December.

5′s John Blashke has more details.

Monday, Gov. Justice’s office announced a new program utilizing state of the art ambulances and equipment.

The purpose is to simulate real life scenarios EMS workers may find themselves in on a day to day basis.

John Hitchens the EMS Program Director at Pierpont College says these simulations have EMS workers and trainees think on their feet. He says it’ll better prepare them for a real emergency where they won’t have guidance.

“So they we can go through an entire scenario, let them treat the patient as they would in the field, and then immediately afterward we can go into a debrief and go over the areas where they did well and some of the areas they may need help in,” said Hitchens.

Hitchens says the program utilizes high tech equipment and realistic mannequins that can bleed, breathe and even talk like people.

The 5 new ambulances are being placed throughout the state and can travel to schools and EMS departments for training and demonstrations.

Healthnet Aeromedical Services is providing the ambulance and equipment. Its president and CEO, Clinton Burley says it provides great opportunity to the areas most in need of help.

“To think about an EMS clinician, in a rural part of West Virginia, miles and miles away from perhaps a hospital that may have a simulation center -- having that brought to their community to their EMS station to be able to have access to that it really changes the structure,” said Burley.

Hitchens says he’s hopeful these new ambulances will help recruit and maintain EMS workers.

“If they can see that and understand the difference that they can make in someone’s life, I think that may point them in the direction of EMS and pre-hospital care,” said Hitchens.

Hitchens says these simulations are most likely to be implemented by December of this year.

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