By Michelle Dupler
ALS Simulation Man and MegaCode Kid sound like a comic book superhero and his youthful sidekick, maybe fighting crime in some virtual reality with genius hacker skills.
But what they actually do is more important and can help save real lives.
These two training mannequins are letting the Jackson Township Fire Department and its paramedics practice life-saving medical techniques so they’ll be ready when a real emergency arises.
“They give us a chance to use our skills over and over, and to learn new skills,” said Capt. William Dolby, the department’s EMS coordinator.
The department just acquired ALS Simulation Man from medical training equipment company Laerdal Medical Corp., using a nearly $12,000 grant from the Aladdin Shriners Hospital Association for Children in Grove City.
The grant also paid for repairs to MegaCode Kid, which the department bought with a Shriners grant several years ago, Dolby said.
“The Shriners for the last several years have given (yearly) grants to buy equipment we otherwise couldn’t afford,” Dolby said.
Laerdal representative Kim Keller said the two life-sized training simulators allow paramedics and emergency medical technicians to practice skills such as intubating a patient or practicing the chest compressions performed during CPR to manually pump blood through the heart of someone who isn’t breathing.
When used with a SimPad computer tablet that connects to a server using Wi-Fi, ALS Simulation Man can replicate human breath and heart sounds under different medical scenarios that allow paramedics and EMTs to react to the kinds of symptoms they’d see in the field.
The SimPad reacts to the techniques and treatments applied to the simulation doll and shows emergency medical personnel how the “patient” is responding so they can see the effects of the actions they’re taking, Keller said.
Dolby said the department has had access to similar training simulators at area hospitals, but by having the child-sized and adult-sized simulators in-house at one of Jackson Township’s fire stations, paramedics and EMTs can get the training they need close to home while also remaining available to respond to emergencies.
The department puts out fires and responds to emergency medical calls in Jackson Township, Grove City and Urbancrest, as well as helping with emergencies in neighboring jurisdictions such as Columbus.
Firefighters and paramedics have to be ready to go on a moment’s notice because every second counts when someone isn’t breathing or might be having a heart attack.
“The advantage for us is our employees stay in the township and do the training while they’re on duty,” Dolby said.