The Jackson Township Fire Division has recruited a real dummy as its newest member.
With a grant from the Shriners International service organization, the fire division recently purchased an Advanced Life Support Patient Simulator, also known as an ALS Simulator, from the Laerdal medical supply company.
The ALS Simulator is a high-tech training mannequin that allows firefighters and paramedics to practice a wide variety of emergency medical services for trauma patients, from broken bones, swollen tongues and lacerations to heart attacks and respiration problems.
"It won't puke, but it'll act like it'll puke," said Fire Lt. Jim Parmenter. "It'll gag."
Unlike regular mannequins, the ALS Simulator can be hooked up to devices to give it a heart beat and respiration that trainees can measure and use to determine their care responses.
Inside the device's leg is a pump that fills its abdomen with air to simulate breathing.
"You can do CPR on it," said Fire Capt. Bill Dolby. "We can start IVs on it. ... It's a great tool."
Trainees can even open up an airway passage in the mannequin's trachea, Dolby added.
The ALS is controlled by a simulation pad that Dolby said is like an iPad. An instructor can program the mannequin's pulse, blood pressure, breathing and other symptoms and conditions, and the instructor can even, with a microphone, speak through it.
"It benefits the firefighters and paramedics by allowing them to do hands-on training," Dolby said. "You can't do everything with PowerPoint."
Symptoms can also be changed on the fly, so firefighters and paramedics can practice thinking on their feet and adjusting to sudden changes in a patient's condition, Dolby said.
"We hope to get a lot of use out of it and a lot of training," Dolby said.
Dolby said the fire division has had a good relationship with the Shriners, which awards a grant to the division every year for specialty equipment not usually covered in the division's budget. This year, the fire division received a grant of $11,941, which covered the ALS Simulator as well as a pediatric trauma moulage kit, used to create mock injuries.