More than 60 nursing students as well as volunteers from the Red Cross have taken part in a real time plane crash disaster simulation in Derry.
Pat Deeny, Senior Lecturer in Nursing at Magee and Exercise Co-Ordinator says Sunday’s exercise at Gransha Park gave nursing students “an excellent opportunity to gain new insights into mass casualty management”.
The students played the roles of casualties and survivors at the scene of the simulated plane crash and in addition to caring for survivors of the atrocity, volunteers had to deal with debris and fire causing havoc in the local community.
Central to the exercise was an emergency field hospital, where senior nursing students set up and ran a Triage and primary assessment area, a ten-bed emergency ward and a family /survivor centre alongside Red Cross volunteers.
“A common feature of any disaster is the ‘mass casualty event’ where hospitals and health services experience an increased surge of people seeking help and first aid,” Nursing lecturer Pat Deeny said.
“Nurses alongside Red Cross and Red Crescent volunteers play a key role in such events, providing expertise in mass casualty management and immediate treatment of serious injuries such as burns, fractures, gunshot wounds and support for families and survivors through psychological first aid. This simulated disaster provides our students with an excellent opportunity to gain new insights into mass casualty management and helps them to cope with chaotic situations in healthcare; something that will stand them good stead for their future career.”
Joanne McKenna, Emergency Response Manager for the Red Cross, paid tribute to the volunteers.
“Emergency response is all about being prepared and it’s vital that our volunteers get the opportunity to test their skills and put their training into practice in as realistic an environment as possible,” she said.