skip to content
  • Calendar
  • Maps

Ambulance Simulator Brings Realistic Training Into the Classroom

Ambulance Training

Ambulance responses are often hectic: lights flashing, sirens blaring, bystanders watching. In the midst of this chaos, paramedics must calmly survey the situation, then work quickly to stabilize and load the patient into the ambulance. It’s a scene that you may be used to seeing on television, and it also plays out daily inside a classroom of the Dumke College of Health Professions.

As the Department of Emergency Healthcare was celebrating its 40th year at Weber State University, Utah’s first paramedic program has made history once again by creating the first ambulance simulator in the Intermountain West.

Jeffrey Grunow, immediate past chair and associate professor of Emergency Healthcare, was introduced to the ambulance simulator at an emergency medical services educator symposium. He recognized the possibilities it could bring to his department, but at that time, it was only a dream.

“In the past few years we’ve been getting students with little to no field experience,” said Grunow. “Our faculty are street-accomplished paramedics who always wanted to bring more realism to the classroom. I knew building a simulator was the solution.”

When his department received funding from the Dr. Ezekiel R. Dumke College of Health Professions, the dream was fast-tracked to reality. The mission was to create a facility that gives students realistic hands-on experience. The result: an exact replica of a fully functioning Type III Ambulance built inside the Marriott Allied Health Building.

Simulator Training

Thanks to this generous gift, the EH department was able to install a variety of useful features.  The simulator is the first in the nation to have sound and ventilation systems.  A suction system enables students to practice clearing airways, and a simulated oxygen tank system uses compressed air.  A six-camera digital recording system makes it possible for students to review their work on a 50-inch flat screen monitor or on their computers after class.

The simulator will be useful to students outside the EH department as well. “We value interdisciplinary relationships with all our peers,” said Grunow. “With that in mind, we believe the simulator will benefit other health profession students, and provide local fire and emergency medical agencies continuing education.” Grunow said response to the simulator has been very positive, and it has generated excitement among community partners. Ogden firefighters have offered to help play the roles of police, firefighters and bystanders to help demonstrate for students the intensity of rescue situations.

“It’s as life like as it gets,” said Zach Hatch, a firefighter and paramedic for West Valley City. “This is exactly what you’re going to do on the street, and to be prepared for that you have to practice, practice, practice.”  The EH department is also home to a real PL Custom Type Three ambulance as well.

“Our program prides itself on training problem solvers,” said Grunow. “With more realistic training everybody wins: students, the community … and patients who will be fortunate to have a professional emergency responder who is acclimated and prepared for any scenario.”