Mock madness at Riverland
It was a tense scene at Riverland Community College Tuesday.
Law Enforcement students were collecting evidence of a tragic accident. An officer had been shot. No one knew what happened aside from the burned and injured family, and Riverland nursing students were busy saving their lives. Radiography students were on standby in case X-rays needed to be done.
What happened at Riverland’s west campus sounds like something out of a drama, but it’s the culmination of a year’s worth of planning by Riverland faculty. Students found out firsthand what their chosen career path does in a tragic situation during Riverland’s third annual Disaster Simulation.
“Each year we come up with some kind of scenario that meets each department’s objectives,” said Jane McKinley, Disaster Simulation Coordinator and a college lab specialist at Riverland.
The simulation brought together eight programs as law enforcement, emergency medical technician, nursing, radiography, human services, health unit coordinator and pharmacology students worked to solve a crisis happening to five seriously injured people, supplied by the theater department.
Law enforcement students weren’t done after securing the scene and radioing for paramedics. Some sifted through a mock trailer for evidence, while others dug through a box of dirt housing human bones in another room.
“It’s an awesome learning experience for them,” said Steven Wald, law enforcement instructor at Riverland.
Students didn’t know what to expect ahead of time, so the simulation became serious for them.
“It was a very real-time situation,” said Aaron Gilley, law enforcement student. “It’s definitely an eye-opener.”
Gilley had to ride in an ambulance with an injured suspect, which he said was stressful as he didn’t know if he could ask questions while EMTs were working on him.
“I’ve never seen police officers getting into the back of the ambulance,” said Gilley. “My intent was to get information as well as keep my suspect apprehended.”
Law enforcement student Jay Stiles agrees the day was a real test. Stiles dug through the box of dirt, collecting fake human remains as evidence.
“This whole scenario was very unexpected,” he said.
Meanwhile, nursing and health unit coordinator students had to contend with police, human services and even the patients in taking care of the injured, one of which had to deliver a baby. Radiography students, who were on standby in case portable X-rays and CT scans were needed, felt confident in their skills and were surprised they worked as well as they did.
“We realized after we started that our skills were a lot better than we thought they were,” said Laney Higgins, radiography student.