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Springdale Crews Train For Child Emergencies

Fire crews rushed to elementary schools Wednesday for reports of a child with difficulty breathing, but the emergency calls were training exercises.
Springdale, AR - Fire crews rushed to elementary schools Wednesday for reports of a child with difficulty breathing, but the emergency calls were training exercises.

"Child emergencies are fairly rare," says Battalion Chief James Hales. "Children are typically pretty healthy and we don't run on them very often."

The Arkansas Department of Health's EMS for Children Program brought a "high fidelity" simulator to the city, to test Springdale's skills.

"Usually less than 10 percent of your calls are pediatric in nature," says Jack Hill, the programs manager."Although you get a lot of education on it in school, on your everyday call line you see very few pediatric patients, so it's just kind of a way to keep those skills honed and keep them up to date."

The patient isn't your average mannequin. The simulated five-year-old can blink, talk and even turns blue to show it's not breathing.

"He has his own respirations, his own pulses, own vital signs," Hill says. "(Crews are) called and they do not know what they're coming to, just like in real life, so when they get here they have to assess and provide proper treatment."

The calls may be rare, but Hales says kids in distress are some of the toughest to handle.

"Just that it's a child, psychologically it's more challenging," he says. "We all have kids, and we all get nervous when we think that there's something wrong with our child... so the more and better training we can do, it just helps everyone."

The entire exercise was recorded, and crews plan to review the video and data from the mannequin to see where they can improve.
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