Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) has teamed up with De Montfort University and with support from East Midlands Ambulance Service (EMAS), to deliver essential practical scenario training to second year students studying the BSc Paramedicine degree course and Association Ambulance Practice (AAP) students.
With university students on practical courses returning to campus earlier this month, Stephanie Cook, Lecturer on the BSc Paramedicine course at De Montfort University and Watch Manager at NFRS, David Ingham, joined together to establish a COVID-secure way to run practical training sessions for student paramedics.
The training, which was carried out at Mereway Fire Station in Northampton, involved an element of theory, from attending the incident, scene assessment, patient management to effective communication with other emergency services and agencies. The main practical exercise was a mock-up of a multi vehicle road traffic accident where students were able to test their medical skills within a safe environment.
The exercise was managed as a real-life incident with student paramedics working closely with qualified firefighters to secure the scene, assess and treat patients, extricate trapped individuals from the vehicles and safely transfer them to the ambulance. The students experienced the latest techniques used to mitigate risk and manage a complex situation, as well as seeing firefighters use technical equipment to enable patient extrication.
Watch Manager, David Ingham, said: “Practical learning gives students a deeper understanding and appreciation of a particular incident such as a road traffic accident, so when they attend one for real, they will be better prepared to deliver the best possible care to those people involved and work more effectively with other frontline services.
“The fire service carries out realistic scenario exercises on a regular basis to ensure everyone knows what is expected when attending a live incident. It provides us with an opportunity to review our processes and embeds the casualty-centred team approach we use to deliver the best possible outcome.”
Thirty-two students from De Montfort University have attended one of four scenario training sessions, putting their theoretical knowledge into practice.
University Lecturer, Stephanie Cook, said: ”Over the last year it has been impossible for students to practice the practical life-saving skills required to gain their qualification. This type of hands on training is invaluable for students to experience the challenging scenarios which they may be faced with once qualified, in an environment that allows them to be fully supported.”
With the country still under lockdown rules, it was essential to ensure the safety of students, firefighters and others attending the training. Government and organisational guidelines were adhered to and PPE was used as would be expected when attending an incident. Lateral flow testing was undertaken before arrival, face coverings were worn when indoors or in close proximity to others, and wherever possible social distance was maintained.
David Ingham added: “We carefully considered whether we could run these sessions safely and whilst still under national restrictions. We all agreed that the benefits of scenario learning far outweighed the minimal risk of transmission of COVID whilst practising life-saving skills outdoors.”