Medical students, first responders to participate in annual EMT training drill

GREENVILLE, SC – The University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville and Prisma Health–Upstate will host their annual emergency medical technician (EMT) training drill on Friday, August 23, equipping current and future first responders to address emergencies quickly, safely and effectively.

The event, now in its eighth year, uses realistic simulations of life-threatening events to test the readiness of local emergency responders. The drill also functions as an “exam” for first-year medical students who complete their EMT certifications as part of their required coursework.

This year’s exercise will run from 9 a.m-6 p.m. Friday, August 23 at the UofSC School of Medicine Greenville on the Prisma Health Greenville Memorial Medical Campus.

This year’s drill includes one mass casualty scenario and one motor vehicle accident. To complete the simulation, first responders must identify the threat and secure the scene, triage and treat ‘patients’ on location and assist in transporting ‘patients’ to participating emergency departments.

Partners include Greenville City Police, Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, Greenville County Emergency Management, Greenville City Fire, Greenville County EMS and Bon Secours St. Francis Health System. Additionally, 150 student volunteers will serve as ‘patients’ with realistic-looking but simulated injuries such as lacerations, fractures, burns and gunshot wounds.

The need for this type of large-scale training across partner organizations has only increased as the frequency of mass casualty events has increased, said Tom Blackwell, MD, FACEP, an emergency medicine physician and director of the EMT training program at the medical school.

“The world is a different place today,” said Blackwell. “It’s critical that individual and group preparedness initiatives be considered, planned, practiced and implemented. Drills such as the ones conducted here provide invaluable training opportunities for our response agencies and help improve their ability to handle such situations should they ever occur in Greenville.”

“This training continues to be critical to our students’ education, not only as a way to test basic clinical skills in the field, but also as a tool to teach them teamwork and communication in tense situations,” continued Blackwell. “When disaster strikes, health care providers are an integral part of the team, and these students leave this event better-equipped to handle the unthinkable.”

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


The University of South Carolina’s commitment to excellence through learning, research and community engagement and its dedication to an unsurpassed student experience have made it a globally recognized research university. Founded in 1801 as the state’s flagship university, South Carolina is now home to more than 51,000 students enrolled at one of 20 locations throughout the state, including the research campus in the state capital of Columbia. The university is helping to build healthier, more educated communities in South Carolina and around the world through 56 nationally ranked academic programs, and it is one of only 50 public universities to receive both the top-tier research designation and the community engagement designation from the Carnegie Foundation.


Prisma Health, a not-for-profit health company, is committed to excellence in patient care, clinical research and teaching the next generation of medical professionals. Our organization – South Carolina’s largest private employer – was formed when Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health joined together in late 2017, officially becoming Prisma Health in January 2019. With 32,000 team members (including volunteers), 18 hospitals and over 300 physician practice sites, we serve more than 1.2 million patients annually – about a quarter of the state’s population. Our goal is to improve the health of all South Carolinians by enhancing clinical quality, the patient experience and access to affordable care. Our cardiovascular, neuroscience, OB/GYN, oncology and orthopedic programs attract patients throughout the region. Also noteworthy are our two renowned children’s hospitals, comprehensive diabetes care and extensive primary care network. Ultimately, we are dedicated to transforming the health care experience for our patients and families, our team members and guests by bringing our purpose to life: Inspire health. Serve with compassion. Be the difference. Learn more at

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