An Indoor Ambulance Lets WSU Students Simulate EmergenciesOGDEN, Utah—Weber State University’s Department of Emergency Care and Rescue (ECR) is set to unveil its new, state-of-the-art ambulance simulator. The simulator is the first in the nation to contain a sound system that replicates sirens and other outside noises, and the first ambulance simulator of any kind built in the Intermountain West.
The first demonstration for the simulator will be held on June 20 from 9 a.m. to noon in the Marriott Health Science Building Room 409 as part of a critical-care transport course. Seven students, all of whom have previous experience working on an ambulance, will participate in the course. The university also will hold a community day in the fall to showcase the new unit.
Jeffrey Grunow, associate professor and chair of ECR, said that he first saw an ambulance simulator at an emergency medical services educator symposium. When his department received funding from the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions, he didn’t have to stop and think about what they needed.
“We have so many students who are coming to us without much previous field experience, either on an ambulance or in the fire department,” Grunow said. “There is little to no way for them to get experience before they take the paramedic program. This is a tremendous gift.” The simulator will also be available to local fire and Emergency Medical System agencies for continuing education.
Recent paramedic graduate Jennifer Young said the simulator will help students quickly become familiar with an ambulance, cutting down the need for on-the-job training.
“The simulator is usually the first time most students will climb in an ambulance,” Young said. “This simulator will help them handle a real-life situation because it is so similar to what they will experience in the field. This will definitely benefit the community, the students and patients to have someone who has such realistic training.”
The simulator is an exact replica of a Type III box ambulance. It contains a simulated oxygen tank system that uses compressed air, a six-camera digital recording system to allow students to review their work and a fully functioning suction system for students to practice clearing airways. It is also the first simulator in the nation to contain sound and ventilation systems.
The unit has standard load dimensions and doors for students to be able to load and unload a weighted mannequin and to experience the space constraints of an actual ambulance.
“We hope this fills the gap for our students who don’t have real-life experience,” Grunow said. “When they go out to any fire department, and they get put in the back of an ambulance and the door shuts, they are not going to be unnerved.”
ECR also plans to replace its 24-year-old diesel ambulance. WSU’s ambulance is used for training and also is part of WSU’s emergency operations plan in case of a catastrophe that leaves Ogden and Roy ambulances unavailable to reach the university.
The ECR program is celebrating its 40th year. It was the first paramedic program in Utah and one of the first in the nation.
For more information on the ambulance simulator, visit ambulancesimulator.com. For additional information on the Emergency Care and Rescue program, visit weber.edu/ECR.
For high-resolution photos please visit wsuucomm.smugmug.com/Press-Release-Photos/2014-photos/June-2014/.
Visit weber.edu/wsutoday for more news about Weber State University.
- Jeffrey Grunow, Department of Emergency Care and Rescue chair
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Chris Barragan, Dumke College of Health Professions development director
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