Hundreds of participants were treated for injuries ranging from un-consciousness to more severe injuries involving car crashes, loss of limbs, stab wounds from flying debris, and other unknown objects embedded into the patient.
Santa Clara County fire officials, US Army Reserve, California State Military Reserve and National Guard, with other Federal authorities joined in the ranks to help train Emergency Medical Technicians enrolled at Unitek IT Education, and Vocational Nursing Students enrolled at Unitek College.
Aklile Beyena a nursing student with Unitek College said, “This is my second semester.” Most students enrolled are expected to participate in an 11-month Vocational Nursing program at Unitek College. Students who participate in the event earn credits for their contribution. “It’s a good experience to learn more about triage,” Beyena said. Staging areas were set for hundreds of volunteers such as Beyena, who was being treated for injuries associated with a natural disaster experienced by search and rescue teams during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Hurricane Katrina reached a category 5 storm level at its peak intensity. Damage and flooding as a result of the storm caused the death of more than 1,833 people.
Radford Salas a nursing student at Unitek College was being treated for a break in his left femur (thigh bone), and compound fracture of his right forearm. “I am currently a nursing student here,” Salas said. “I completed my Emergency Medical Training (EMT) in 2010, and I decided to come back and work on my nursing degree,” Salas said.
Previous students who have graduated from the educational center were also invited to participate in the all day event which included setting up a makeshift triage for medical emergencies, including the pre-hospital setting for natural disaster victims. A helicopter and ambulance were also used during the medical training exercise. “It has been a unique learning experience working with different municipalities and other agencies, such as the California State National Guard,” Salas said.
Alicia Joachim a first time nursing student at Unitek College said, “its hard cause being able to do everything right, really tests your skills.” Joachim said, “It prepares you for a real life trauma mass casualty situation.”
Chief Spiro Mitsanas a line officer with the California State Military Reserve said, “Today’s exercise was a good balance, a good mix of people working together.” “Our job here today was to provide all communications to the triage through radio communications,” Mitsanas said. Search and rescue, and radio functions coordinating the ambulance staging area, and other communications used through the radio are all orchestrated through the California State Military Reserve command post. Mitsanas said, “For the whole exercise the ambulance is dispatched to serve those who have hospital needs, this is all virtual information that is used to move traffic and help operations depending on cover staging areas.”
The Senior Director of Operations Eli Soto of Unitek Education said, “Unitek IT Education and Unitek College have joined together with the California State Reserve and National Guard to help train our students.” Soto said, “We offer a 14-day boot camp course in which we train our EMT students about real life trauma situations.”
The training center provides a trauma center, over turned cars, a helicopter landing area, and staging areas for military, fire, and police during training events. “We feel that such events like Hurricane Katrina and Sandy disconnect civilians from first responders,” Soto said. The event was sponsored through the Unitek IT Education that provides EMT students with hands on communication skills. “Communications is the central to who is going to do what, and who is going to take over afterwards.”