Since then, Oliver and his Emergency Operations Center partners have been at the helm of Iowa State’s pandemic response.
It got Oliver thinking about other types of emergency response, particularly Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training.
Kelly Schaefer, associate teaching professor of music and theatre, applies moulage to the face of Caden Backen, junior in software engineering, before the exercise.
So far this semester, students have learned about disaster medicine and stabilizing victims with Thielen Student Health Center staff; search and rescue and extrication with the Ames Fire Department; fire safety and suppression and recognition of hazardous materials with ISU Environmental Health and Safety; and disaster psychology for victims and responders with ISU Student Counseling.
Remy Braun, senior in mechanical engineering from Olathe, Kansas, enrolled in the seminar to learn about search and rescue – an aspect that the fire department handles when she’s responding to medical calls in her job as an emergency medical technician (EMT) for Mary Greeley Medical Center.
“It’s been very eye-opening,” Braun said of her job, which she started in May 2020. “You think as a civilian that you know what it’s like working with fire and police, but we see such a variety of calls on a daily basis.”
Participants in a simulated tornado disaster wear moulage while waiting to begin the exercise.
Hands-on training is key. On Oct. 27, Oliver took his class to 31 Frederiksen Court, which is vacant this academic year.
The scenario: A tornado has struck the area. Power to the building is knocked out, with only emergency lights available. There are bloody and screaming victims throughout the building.
The task: Assess the scene. Triage and treat the wounded. Extricate people trapped by structural collapses. Move immobilized patients. Extinguish fires. Comfort distressed survivors. Stabilize the scene until first responders arrive.
Students in an honors seminar help "victims" of a tornado during a simulated disaster response exercise.
“For the majority of students, something like this would be their first exposure to traumatic scenes, even simulated. Classroom training is one thing, but engaging with someone with a severe injury and in immediate danger is different. When students can see that they’re able to settle people down and treat injuries, it gives them confidence in these skills.”
— Clayton Oliver
Photos: Christopher Gannon, Iowa State University Video: Dave Olson, Iowa State University