Emergency preparedness exercise to test medical students, first responders

The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and Greenville Health System (GHS) will host the annual community emergency preparedness exercise on Friday, Sept. 11. This is the fourth year for the event, which tests the readiness of local emergency responders through realistic simulations of life-threatening events.

The exercise will run from 8 a.m-5 p.m. at the medical school on GHS’ Greenville Memorial Medical Campus. Media are invited to attend the 11 a.m. drill which will begin with a memorial service in honor of civilians and first responders who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.

The drills bring together law enforcement, fire and rescue, emergency medical services, hospital staff and medical students as they work together to assist patients and protect the community. To enhance the experience, organizers go to great lengths to capture the sights and sounds of actual emergency situations. Past exercises have included actors in makeup posing as distraught patients, armed hostage-takers and car-wreck victims. The details of the exercises are kept secret from the students.

The annual event is the brainchild of Dr. Thomas Blackwell, who directs the School of Medicine’s EMT training program.

“EMT training provides students with basic clinical skills but also teaches them how to work as part of a healthcare team and how to communicate in tense situations,” said Blackwell. “The full-scale emergency operations exercise serves as invaluable training for our students as well as local emergency and law enforcement agencies. We strive to make the scenarios as realistic as possible to replicate the stress and intensity of real disasters and give our students an appreciation for the skills they will use as first responders and future physicians.”

The School of Medicine was the first in the country to require first-year medical students to complete an Emergency Medical Technician training to certification. Students spend twelve hours each month serving the community as EMTs.

Because the exercise utilizes emergency vehicle sirens and may involve pyrotechnics and simulated gunfire, residents near GHS’ Greenville Memorial Medical Campus have been notified of the exercise. Anyone traveling or visiting the campus on Sept. 11 should be aware of the exercise in case they notice unusual activity. Traffic patterns will change for this exercise, and all motorists are cautioned to be aware of traffic changes and directional signs.

For additional information or to arrange coverage, contact Jeff Stensland (stenslan@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-3686) or Sandy Dees (sdees@ghs.org or 864-303-4115).

About University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville

The University of South Carolina (USC) School of Medicine Greenville is a four-year medical program developed as a partnership between USC and Greenville Health System (GHS). Since 1991, GHS has provided clinical education to third- and fourth-year medical students of the USC School of Medicine Columbia. In 2009, the decision was made to expand to a four-year medical school. The USC School of Medicine Greenville has 287 students on its way to a phased-in eventual enrollment of 400. Learn more at greenvillemed.sc.edu

About Greenville Health System

Greenville Health System (GHS) – an academic health system that is the largest not-for-profit healthcare delivery system in South Carolina – is committed to medical excellence through research, patient care and education. GHS offers patients an innovative network of clinical integration, expertise and technologies through its eight medical campuses, tertiary medical center, research and education facilities, community hospitals, physician practices and numerous specialty services throughout the Upstate. Visit ghs.org for more information.

  • Was this Helpful ?
  • Yes   No