Mass casualty exercises for Bachelor of Paramedic Science students

Published:26 September 2016

Gunshots, screams and sirens rang out across three CQUniversity campuses on 27 September as Paramedic Science students and emergency services put their skills to the test in a simulated training exercise.

Armed students in Townsville, Rockhampton and Cairns inflicted gunshot wounds and physical assaults causing injuries to a number of casualties in a simulated exercise conducted by Paramedic Science students on 27 September.

CQUniversity joined forces with the Queensland Police Service (QPS) and Queensland Fire and Rescue Service (QFRS) to conduct the mass casualty exercise at the Townsville and Rockhampton campuses while Cairns students worked in collaboration with the QFRS at The Northern Outlook at Redlynch.

The training was part of a practical learning exercise for third-year students and will involve the simulated apprehension of an armed offender and the treatment of patients suffering a range of injuries.

Paramedic Science Senior Lecturer Nathan Puckeridge said that 70 students  across the three campuses participated in the simultaneous exercise.

“As part of this unit, there is a requirement for the students to participate as a member of a responding emergency medical service team to a simulated major incident with a large number of casualties,” Mr Puckeridge  said.

“Traditionally, this exercise involved elements of the QPS, QFRS and Queensland Ambulance Services. Past agreements with these services meant the exercise was factored into ongoing training and development for the emergency response agencies and facilitated an introduction to the  CQUniversity paramedic students to interagency collaboration however, this year, in light of international incidents and the increased focus on professional development and accountability, the Queensland Police and Fire and Rescue Service are incorporating important and critical training into the planning  of this year’s events,” he said.

Mr Puckeridge said that in Townsville and Rockhampton QPS personnel attended the site and conducted training exercises of gaining entry to a building, challenging an armed offender and subduing the armed offender. Students, staff or members of the  public were not on site during this process.

“The reason for this is the QPS are going to be using simulated ammunition and for tactical, security and safety reasons, no students, staff or members of the public will be involved,” Mr Puckeridge said.“Once the QPS training  is complete, simulated victims will be placed into position and then student Paramedics will enter and begin their mass casualty triage exercise. This aspect will be with the assistance of the QPS and QFRS.

“Once the QPS training is complete, simulated victims were placed into position  and then student Paramedics entered and begin their mass casualty triage exercise. This aspect was assisted by the QPS and QFRS.

“During the casualty evacuation, some victims were contaminated with a ‘suspicious substance’ and the QFRS initiated a hazardous materials protocol  to decontaminate them.”

The student Paramedics were expected to take 80-120 minutes to access, assess, treat and begin transportation of up to 30 simulated victims.