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EMTs practice new triage system, lifeguards refresh skills

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EMTs practice new triage system, lifeguards refresh skills

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HARTINGTON - On July 11, 2018, a mass casualty training occurred at the Hartington Municipal Pool to practice a new system called EVAC, short for evacuation, as well as refresh EMT and lifeguard on different skills, said Cedar County Emergency Manager Kevin Garvin. 

Garvin was asked to be in attendance for this training to “help evaluators with subject matter expertise.” According to Garvin, the new system is designed to help EMTs track their patients from the site of injury all the way to their final destination, the hospital. 

“Its going to take time and practice but it was a good first time opportunity to exercise the new system,” Garvin said. 

Garvin described the training as a learning curve and, overall, successful. 

The prompt for the training was a lightning strike hitting the pool. The lifeguards recruited 22 volunteers from the swim team to act as victims of the mass casualty. 

Jeff Jones, along with the lifeguards, helped to initiate this training. According to Jones, they usually training every year with the lifeguards but wanted to do something different. 

“Usually we train with the lifeguards once a year and its the same thing over and over and over again but this year we decided to do something new,” Jones said.

According to pool manager Haley Becker, this exercise was much more realistic than past years. Becker also said that although seven out of the 12 lifeguards she has on staff are new, she was “thrilled” to see them successfully and confidently perform saves.  

“Having the opportunity to do something like this allows our team of lifeguards to reflect on how we reacted in this situation,” Becker said. 

The lifeguards also were able to work on communication skills and received some feedback. 

“We got some great feedback from skilled Red Cross Trainers and we are able to use this feedback in the future to continue making our lifeguard team better.”

To Jones, the key points of leading this training is to be able to properly categorize patients during triage among other things. 

“The importance of this training is teamwork, communication and learning triage,” Jones said. “We don’t do triage very often and it is a skill and a tool that we sometimes forget.”