A major incident exercise designed to offer a realistic disaster scenario for medical students has been hailed a success.
Project Ariona involved simulating the scene of a multi-vehicle road accident at Westcott Venture Park with many ‘casualties’, most of whom were in minibuses having attended a wedding.
More than 100 Year 3 medical students from University of Buckingham were then tasked with dealing with a wide range of ‘injuries’, some potentially fatal. They included burns as well as a recreation of the mass panic such an incident causes.
Thirty actors along with student volunteers played the victims with a special make-up artist applying the ‘wounds’ at the event which took place on 8th September.
The aim was for the medical students to understand how to deal with managing major trauma events and of working collaboratively with the emergency services as well as other parties such as the media and council staff in a situation as close to real life as possible.
The students had been given a range of workshops and lectures in the build-up to the event on before putting the teaching into practice.
Dr Joanne Selway, Phase 1 Lead at University of Buckingham Medical School, said: “Our students get a lot of experience in a clinical setting during their training, this exercise allows them to hone their skills in the community and help prepare them for any situation as a clinician or as a member of the public when off-duty.”
Professor Joanne Harris, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for the University to engage with the local community and emergency services to help train our future doctors in critical care delivery.”
Thames Valley Police, South Central Ambulance Service, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service (BFRS), and Buckinghamshire Council were all involved and were able to test their command structures in what was the largest event of its kind run by the university.
Adam Moore, Operational Assurance Station Commander at BFRS, added: “Large scale incidents of this nature, thankfully, do not occur too often but we must be prepared for when they do. Exercises such as this enable all three emergency services, along with other agencies, to work together and put into practice our training, procedures, and multi-agency principles. This helps to ensure that the vital services we provide are the best they can be.
“I would like to thank all of those who gave up time to support and take part in the exercise, and to congratulate The University of Buckingham and everyone else involved in the organisation of a well-planned, and well-run, realistic scenario.”
Significantly, all the major emergency services now have a presence at Westcott with BFRS providing a base for the Urban Search and Rescue team while the Rapid Response Medical Group provides ambulance services and Thames Valley Police also use Westcott as a base when patrolling the area.
Jayne Cannell, Business Park Manager at Westcott Venture Park, said: “This event was incredibly realistic and so well created that it was almost terrifying to watch.
“We would like to congratulate everyone involved for what was a highly successful collaboration which we were delighted to host. I am sure they learned a huge amount from the experience which could ultimately save lives in the real world.”
Another beneficiary was the Rapid Relief Team (RRT) which provides global support to disaster victims and those in need. Having provided food on the day, it was given a donation.