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Full-Scale Ambulance Simulator Installed on the Fairhope Campus

Aug 11th, 2022 Featured

Students enrolled in Coastal Alabama Community College's Emergency Medical Services Program receive the closest instruction possible to real-world scenarios, thanks partly to a full-scale ambulance simulator installed on the Fairhope campus.

The simulator was funded by a $45,000 grant and installed in January of this year.

"We can simulate real scenarios with high-fidelity mannequins, which is especially valuable to new students coming into the EMS program at the EMT level," said Dr. Allen Patterson, EMS Program Director. "And then, of course, at the advanced and the paramedic-level, it hones their skills even further to be able to simulate patient-care scenarios that, in real life, maybe they've never had the opportunity to engage in."

Such invaluable, practical instruction is a hallmark of the college's Allied Health Division and a significant reason those who graduate from Coastal Alabama Community College are in demand by providers looking for qualified employees ready to hit the ground running. Through the ambulance simulator, students can perform real-time analysis of the high-fidelity "patient's" health data, including blood pressure, oxygen, heart rate, and more.

Students learn tactile skills, too, such as how to load and unload stretchers, store and retrieve supplies and equipment, and administer treatment — all within the cramped confines of the ambulance cabin.

"For somebody that's been on the job for any length of time, operating any of the equipment becomes second nature, but for somebody new coming out of school, it's a different world," Dr. Patterson said.

Around 160 students enroll in the EMS program each semester, with the opportunity to learn from four full-time instructors and 30 part-time adjuncts.