Thursday, March 10, 2011

Raleigh stages mock disaster for medics

"CALM down dear, it's just a doll…"
Casualties comfort each other at HMS Raleigh as doctors and medics from across the South West try to deal with a major disaster.
The Torpoint establishment hosted an exercise for the civilian emergency services to hone their skills coping with a large-scale tragedy – in this instance an explosion aboard a ship.

Raleigh’s First Aid school provided the setting as students from the ambulance service and Derriford Hospital were tested on their ability to manage process, assess and ultimately treat a large number of casualties – provided by Raleigh personnel in full make-up (and a bit of dodgy acting…) and would-be paramedics from Plymouth University.
That meant the trainees on the Major Incident Medical Management and Support Course entering smoke-filled compartments, calming the injured down, helping them out, putting some into decontamination tents if necessary, and sorting out a suitable hospital or medical centre for the casualties to be treated at subsequently.
The (fake) bloody exercise was the culmination of three days’ instruction, which is carried out at Derriford’s ambulance training college. Course directors look for a different location for the big exercise – anything from a mock pile-up on the motorway to a disaster in a shopping centre or sports stadium. This time around they plumped for Raleigh.
“We’ve used the facilities at Raleigh before – they are excellent for this type of training and the support we receive from the Royal Navy staff is excellent,” said the course’s clinical tutor Graham Kemp.
For Raleigh personnel this wasn’t purely a chance to don make-up and fool around for a day – there was a serious side to the ‘disaster’.
“For our trainees, the exercise was a great experience as they prepare to qualify as medical assistants,” said PO(MA) Dan Raisbeck.
“The training we provide is as practical as possible to prepare sailors to deal with the worse-case scenarios on board ship or on the battlefield.”


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