Before someone can be an “everyday hero” – such as a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, or 9-1-1 dispatcher – he or she must first learn the ropes. In Portland, one of the best places to do so is in one of the Emergency Services programs at Portland Community College’s Cascade Campus. The public will get a close-up view of what it takes to be a first responder during the sixth annual Emergency Services Open House, set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, outside of the Public Services Education Building, at the corner of North Killingsworth Street and Mississippi Avenue.
The open house will feature information and demonstrations from the various programs housed in building – Fire Protection Technology, Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Services (or EMS, where paramedics and emergency medical technicians are trained), Emergency Management and Emergency Telecommunicator /9-1-1 Dispatcher.
The centerpiece of the day’s events is a mock motor vehicle crash rescue, in which students from the programs collaborate to simulate a drunken driving incident. Student 9-1-1 dispatchers receive and process calls reporting the incident, providing medical aid instructions over the phone while dispatching Police, Fire and EMS units.
For the first time, the exercise will be conducted using the Emergency Telecommunicator /9-1-1 Dispatcher program’s new, state-of-the-art simulation lab. The new lab integrates all of a 9-1-1 dispatcher’s tools – voice communications and data – over the Internet, allowing him or her to respond to an emergency call and coordinate a response from a single computer terminal.
“This is the first simulation lab of its kind in the nation,” said Heidi Meyer, chair of the Emergency Telecommunicator /9-1-1 Dispatcher department. “We’re really excited about its potential as an educational tool, and it will be great to see it in action during this simulation.”
Fire students will demonstrate how they extricate patients from a wrecked vehicle, and EMS students will demonstrate how they administer emergency treatment in order to prepare patients for transport to the hospital.
“The vehicle rescues are really cool,” said Doug Smith, an instructor in the Fire Protection Technology Program. “They involve the simultaneous participation of students from several different programs, and they give people the chance to get right up close as our students perform the rescue.”
Meanwhile, the “driver” will receive a field sobriety test from – and eventually be arrested by — Criminal Justice students. A live narration from program instructors will accompany each stage of the rescue operation. Visitors will also have the chance check out the building’s emergency vehicle bays and see the training center where students learn to be 9-1-1 operators.