Mock disaster helps Tech Center students hone their skills

	A mock disaster involving two cars, a transit bus, and a train, was held Tuesday on the grounds of the Van Buren Technology Center in Lawrence. Juniors and seniors from Van Buren County and other area schools took part in the  exercise. Emergency Service agencies from Van Buren, Cass and Berrien counties assisted students during the day. State and federal agencies also participated.	Courier-Leader photo/Paul Garrod

    LAWRENCE - A mock disaster was held Tuesday on the grounds of the Van Buren Technology Center, here, involving two cars, a transit bus, and a train.
        The morning disaster included Van Buren Technology Center Fire Science, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and  Law Enforcement classes.
    Juniors and seniors from area Van Buren County schools, as well as Marcellus, Dowagiac and Cassopolis (Cass County) and Watervliet (Berrien County),  took part in the  exercise.
    Emergency Service agencies from the three counties assisted students during the day. State and federal agencies also participated.
    Several other Technology Center  programs also were  involved with the disaster. Cosmetology students applied make-up to simulate realistic injuries on volunteer patients, while students in the Hospitality program provided meals to mock disaster participants. Students from the Fundamentals of Patient Care class also had an   emergency room set up to receive the injured.
    “The students got to experience the stress of a real-life disaster, without risk to actual patients,” said EMT instructor J.C.Robertson.
    The mock disaster is a culmination of skills learned throughout the school year. Students are judged on professionalism, technical skills and inter-agency cooperation.
    Matt Whitman, Law Enforcement instructor, said, “This is a great way for the students to work with actual police, fire and EMS personnel who have years of experience in the field.”
    This year marked the 17th anniversary of the mock disaster, which signifies the Capstone project for the students.
    Previous mock disasters included plane and semi-truck crashes with hazardous materials and bombings.
 

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