Faculty of Health

University paramedicine students shine in the face of disaster

University of Tasmania Bachelor of Paramedic Practice Sydney students showcased the quality of their skills, when they swung into action in a disaster simulation in the Sydney CBD recently.

The large scale exercise involving all NSW emergency services, as well as health, transport and communications personnel, simulated a large plane crashing into a concert crowd in the middle of the city.

The 42 paramedic students were required to support ambulance officers to provide triage, treatment and transport to hospital for over 500 ‘patients’.

They also had to deal with fire, chemical contamination, and the chaos that can accompany such emergencies.

NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Michael Fuller said the exercise was the largest ever held in Australia.

University of Tasmania Course Co-ordinator for the Bachelor of Paramedic Practice Suzanne Davies said the scenario was an invaluable experience for the paramedic students involved.

“We were the only University invited to participate in the scenario, which was both an enormous responsibility and privilege,” she said.

“The students learned to work within the unique multi-agency, command structures that are enacted in disaster environments, and were also an important part of the NSW Health debriefing, which took part after the exercise.”

Ms Davies said the feedback following the student’s involvement in the scenario had been consistently positive and highlighted the quality of training received by the University’s paramedicine students.

“The students were exceptional, and feedback from all involved agencies was that they were highly professional, and an invaluable and integral part of the emergency response,” she said.

“They were outstanding ambassadors for the University.”

More than 700 personnel were involved in the scenario which took 12 months in the planning.

The exercise was aimed at providing NSW Ambulance (and other emergency and governmental agencies) with the opportunity to test their ability to respond to major emergency situations.