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Firefighters train in simulation

The medical simulation room the firefighters work in on the mobile simulation truck is pictured Wednesday afternoon during an emergency responder training exercise in Mitchell.(Justin Harned/Republic)1 / 2
RN Simulation Coordinator Becky Jibben oversees the medical simulation from the monitors Wednesday afternoon during an emergency responder training exercise in Mitchell. (Justin Harned/Republic)2 / 2

South Dakota could be first to transmit live streaming audio and video from an ambulance into the emergency room as early as 2015.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mitchell's fire department worked on trauma and medical techniques. Assistant Fire Chief Paul Morris said the main goal of the training exercise is to simulate medical and trauma calls in a controlled environment, which provides valuable experience. Morris said this simulation is a place where these guys can make mistakes and learn from them.

"Our end goal dream is to have live streaming video and audio from the back of an ambulance directly to the ER," Morris said. "The doctor can see the patient, the patient can see the doctor with a little screen in the back of the ambulance and talk to the paramedic."

The live streaming video would enable doctors to make potentially life-saving decisions sooner, Morris said. He said they are testing a system called E-Net Messenger, which encrypts the medical information to prevent it from being stolen. The city is funding the project.

Two groups of four firefighters who are either Emergency Medical Technician or paramedics were tested in a mobile simulation truck, equipped with three rooms separated by sliding doors. The truck is funded through a grant sponsored by the State Health Department and is scheduled to visit the fire department once a month for the rest of 2014 according to Avera's Simulation Education Coordinator, Matt McQuisten.

McQuisten, along with Mitchell Ambulance Director Martin Christensen and RN Simulation Coordinator Becky Jibben were in another room monitoring the group during the exercise. McQuisten prepped the small group of men on the simulated situation: someone having a heart attack in a household. McQuisten used a microphone linked to the dummy, interacting with the group of men in the other room. Jibben activated the dummy's response system similar to a real person under a medical emergency.

"This training will help them sustain the skills they need to do for a cardiac arrest," Christensen said. "Such as drugs and medications before they get to the hospital, then get an EKG done and sent to the hospital so they know you're coming. Ideally we would like to get the patient to the hospital in 90 minutes."

More groups will be tested today. Event organizers said the mobile training truck provides firefighters the opportunity to stay on call rather than taking time off for the EMS training. There are currently four simulation trucks in South Dakota and the goal is to make every firefighter in Mitchell a paramedic, Christensen said.

"This is to help the EMS service strengthen their skills and sustain their training in the state of South Dakota," Christensen said.