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Jul 18, 2015 2:00 PM

Staged accident helps EMTs and firefighters practice for the real thing


CANDIA - In January, a 30-car pile up on Interstate-93 demanded the attention of multiple first responders -- proof that a mass casualty incident can and does happen in the Granite State.

On Saturday, EMTs and firefighters from more than five communities trained together to be better prepared for the next one.

And while this accident - a 10-car crash involving a school bus - was staged, the skills EMTs and firefighters needed were very real.

The scenario was chilling, with 40 volunteer victims scattered across the accident scene.

“He can’t see. Can’t open his eyes,” one responder called out.

Cars were flipped on their sides, one on its roof. A motorcyclist was pinned underneath another -- and inside all the cars were victims needing help.

In this staged event, some made it and some didn't.

“What year is it right now?” one victim was asked.

“I was trapped in a car and just screaming jibberish until they pulled me out and put me on a backboard and got me to CMC,” Rob Hanley, one of the mock victims explained.

Those involved say the practice is important, not just in terms of applying skills, but learning to work together with multiple departments.

In this case Raymond, Deerfield, Auburn, Chester and Candia fire departments had to coordinate their work along with Raymond Ambulance Service, Deerfield Rescue Squad and AMR from Manchester.

“Because we don’t see it a lot, we don’t have the experience and the expertise – so we have to train and practice and practice to become experts,” said Candia Fire Lt. John Seidner.
Many of the volunteer victims were themselves EMTs in training and say that being able to trust the people they work with is critical.

“When you’re in a car, and they’re cutting the roof off, you want to be able to trust those people outside. Because your life depends upon it,” said Leo Doherty of the Raymond Ambulance Service.


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