07/26/2011

Maine fire department aims to buy EMS training dummy


The Portland Press Herald

OLD ORCHARD BEACH, Maine — The fire department hopes to raise $20,000 for a piece of training equipment that bleeds, cries and takes an injection in stride.

The "Smart Stat Manikin" is a realistic model of a human being that will enhance the training of emergency medical technicians and paramedics, said firefighter/paramedic Don Pelletier.

The department currently uses training equipment in a classroom setting for the 10 full-time and 23 part-time paramedics and EMTs on staff. However, Capt. John Gilboy said the methods are very scenario-based.

"The person doing the (training) will tell you what happens according to treatment," he said. "Whereas the one that we're trying to get actually reacts."

The mannequin, weighing about 150 pounds and standing 6 feet tall, has lifelike heart and lung sounds. Its eyes tear, its pupils dilate, it simulates bleeding and it can be given an intravenous injection. If a trainee isn't giving it enough oxygen, its lips will turn blue, Gilboy said.

Because the mannequin is battery operated, training can be done outside the classroom, Pelletier said.

"The idea is if we can get the mannequin into the back of the ambulance, this is how it's going to be. The patient is in the ambulance and you're bouncing down the road. This is where you're doing your intervention," he said.

Similar mannequins are used in medical schools and hospital training.

Pelletier hopes the device will also be a learning tool for the community. He said the department would like to bring it to schools and to local groups such as the Boy Scouts.

The department decided to raise funds for the equipment rather than ask for it in the training budget because of the tough economic times, Pelletier said.

He noted that the mannequin will also allow for training in-house, rather than elsewhere, reducing costs in the long run.

"If the public is willing to put $5 aside for us here and there, we'll be able to get this piece of equipment," he said.

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