Ulster University nursing students joined the Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Foyle Search and Rescue, PSNI and local Healthcare Trusts during a full scale disaster response training exercise at the Magee campus.
Over 60 nursing students played the roles of casualties and survivors at the scene of eleven different simulated community crisis and disaster events.
In addition, 210 final year nursing students working in teams had to respond to these situations, caring for the casualties and survivors and leading on the communication with other agencies involved in such emergencies.
The community resilience simulation, linked to Derry City and Strabane District Council emergency plans had eleven different scenarios, seven specifically focusing on floods. The floods across the North West in 2017 caused devastation to hundreds of people when 63% of the average August rainfall fell within an eight-to-nine-hour period. Communities that were impacted by these floods were consulted on the content of this year’s simulations.
The simulation event provided the ideal training opportunity for nurses and teams from the Red Cross, St John Ambulance, Foyle Search and Rescue and PSNI to work collaboratively on casualty location, triage, first aid and emotional support skills.
Also this year there was a major focus on ‘debriefing‘ for emergency responders after flood scenarios. Dr Breda Friel from the School Applied Social and Policy Sciences at Ulster University led on the debriefing sessions. Dr Friel has experience of dealing with recent community crises in Inishowen, Co Donegal.
The annual Ulster University exercise which started in 2010, comprises a mix of live, simulation and command and control events in order to test final year nursing students.