On Saturday, August 11, Blue Ridge Volunteer Rescue Squad and Botetourt County EMS introduced simulator Hal S53201. Hal is an almost living and definitely breathing and blinking simulator “dummy,” if that term can be used on a such a technological advanced piece of training equipment.
Hal will be riding around in a retired ambulance refurbished for training through out western Virginia, thanks to the forethought of the BRVRS.
In our first story, Blue Ridge Volunteer Rescue Squad memebers described, ” What do you do with an old ambulance? How about dream big! An ambulance with a simulator for training, a novel idea not only for Blue Ridge and Botetourt County, but also western and southern Virginia.”
“Education,” said the Blue Ridge Squad overview, “is essential to any successful EMS system.”
Colt Hagmaier of BRVRS said a great deal of talk took place amongst the volunteers. One day he was walking his dog and thought, “We could make it it in to a training vehicle with a simulator.” The cohort in Blue Ridge approved the use of the ambulance. Botetourt County FARST committee and EMS along with the Administration approved of the idea.
It is called the “Simbulance Program.” After securing the funding through a grant from Western Virginia EMS, the program followed through and on Saturday it was unveiled. Western Virginia EMS was on hand and Rob Logan spoke to the possibilities. Hagmaier acted as coordinator of the event.
Governor Bob McDonnell sent Secretary of Public Safety Marla Decker to the event. She was effusive on the opportunity for training volunteers as well as paid EMS. She said, “A whole new world of technology for providers has opened up here and it will help provide competent and trained volunteers in the new EMS practices.” The plan is for squads through out Western Virginia to use the unique training opportunity.
Hal can be intubated, given medication, introduced an IV, respond to medication. His eyes dialate and he can also speak. He can state, “Please take me to the hospital.” A state of the art video camera system can record the trainees in the Simbulance interior. The trainees can be watched from the outside and can also review their performance after training for self critique.
Also on hand for the event were Dr. Mac Scothorn who spoke on behalf of Botetourt County, Billy Martin and Terry Austin, all three from the Board of Supervisors, County Administrator Kathleen Guzi, Spencer Suter, Carr Boyd Director of EMS, Jason Ferguson and Andrew Moore from EMS, various squad members from BRVRS including Dr. Jim Kistner and several from the Western Virginia EMS including Cathy Cockerell and Gene Dalton and retired County Administrator Jerry Burgess.
“Hopefully the additional training opportunity will get out through out the region,” said Hagmaier, who is leaving to live in Fredericksburg. A committee made up of BRVRS member Travis Meadow, Kistner and Western VA EMS members will take the Simbulance to the next level– on the road and training!
For more information contact: Simbulance@blueridgerescue.com.