Dartmouth to Host Collegiate EMS Training Drill

The Dartmouth Emergency Medical Services (EMS) group is hosting the Northern New England Collegiate EMS Conference and Drill Day on Saturday, April 23. Collegiate EMS squads from schools across New England will participate in two simulated mass casualty incident drills as well as other training and roundtable discussions. The drills will focus primarily on preparing emergency personnel to effectively respond to large scenarios containing many victims. The attendees include EMS groups from Amherst College, Colby College, Mount Holyoke College, Tufts University, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the University of Vermont, and Worchester Polytechnic Institute.

Dartmouth's Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EHS), the New England Center for Emergency Preparedness (NECEP), Hanover Fire Department, the National Collegiate Emergency Medical Services Foundation, and the Metropolitan Medical Response System New Hampshire Task Force are also attending the event. More than 80 people are expected to participate, and over 50 students are volunteering to be patients.

“The goal of this conference is to encourage networking among EMS squads and to share ideas and best practices specific to the challenges of college-based EMS agencies,” said Ryan Speers ’11, director of Dartmouth EMS. “The drills will offer hands-on practice with handling the challenges of mass casualty incidents. Due to the amount of planning and resources needed to run a drill, it’s often difficult for collegiate agencies to organize one. We hope by bringing multiple squads together we’re able to effectively provide this important training opportunity to more emergency responders.”

The purpose of the exercise is to provide participants with an opportunity to evaluate current response concepts, plans, and capabilities for responding to a real emergency. The exercises will focus on key college, local, and state emergency responder coordination; critical decisions; and integration of state agencies and resources, all of which are necessary to save lives and protect the public after a real emergency event.

As part of the exercise, the response of the participating agencies will be examined. Evaluators from Dartmouth EMS, EHS, and NECEP will offer suggestions that will be compiled in a report with recommendations for future training, equipment, and response procedures.

The drills will each be about two hours in length and will focus on the specific scenarios. One will take place in Dewey Field Lot at approximately 1:30 p.m. and will emphasize the treatment of trauma patients. The other will take place in the Kellogg Auditorium Lot at approximately 3 p.m. and focus on the needs of medical patients. The scenarios are each carefully constructed to practice and evaluate specific objectives.

“I hope that all the participants in this drill will not only improve their skills in managing scenes with many patients but also how to communicate best with the appropriate agencies, so that needed resources are available,” Speers said. “We hope that attending groups will leave better prepared to handle any type of mass casualty scenario.”

Dartmouth EMS is a student run Basic Life Support unit licensed by the State of New Hampshire. The group provides emergency medical services to the College and are available for standby coverage throughout the Upper Valley. They are the primary EMS provider for athletic and other special events at Dartmouth.