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Press Release



April 16, 2010

Cowley departments team up to conduct disaster training scenario


Disaster Training ScenarioPutting students in a controlled chaos situation, four Cowley College departments teamed up to conduct a disaster training scenario Wednesday at the school’s Allied Health Center in Winfield.

The scenario of an active shooter in a girls’ dormitory, brought together the four departments in a multidisciplinary training session designed to help instructors assess students in a hands on environment.

The trauma victims, from Director of Theater, Scott McLaughlin’s acting class, had a wide range of injuries. It was up to Director of EMS Education, Chris Cannon’s students, to evaluate and categorize each victim.

Student reporters from Director of Journalism, Meg Smith’s violence in the media course and newspaper production course were there to find out the story for the local media. The whole event was captured on video by Director of Communications Adam Borth, while still photography was done by members of the Cowley Press Students in Borth’s Public Relations course also helped with the training.

“The biggest thing, which I was not expecting, was that the event was pretty close to the pacing of how a real situation would play out,” Smith said. “The coolest thing was watching the students have to wait it out and find the information they needed.”

A pair of Cowley students, Jeff Wejman and Madison Owens, wrote a detailed back story for each trauma victim. Each was also given specific symptoms to mimic so the MICT students would have clues to how to diagnose them. No single victim knew what really happened and many did not have the same story, but if the students asked the correct questions they would discover the information they were searching for.

“A lot of the students have been critical of how news reporting is done, so it was good to put them in an uncomfortable place,” Smith said. “You can’t do that in the class room.”

MacLaughlin’s students did a good job of making the scenario feel as real as possible, while the Winfield Area EMS provided an ambulance to be used in the training.

“It was important for our students to make it as real as they could,” MacLaughlin said. “For them to be believable in a role it can be pretty tough emotionally.”

So much so, that some of the students were actually in tears.

“The students stayed in character and did a phenomenal job,” Cannon said. “It was really beneficial for our students.”

Along with Cannon, Deryk Ruddle, Lead MICT instructor, and Malachi Winters, MICT instructor, also helped with the training as did fellow adjunct staff MICT instructors.

This was the second year in a row that the departments had joined together on such an endeavor.

“This was probably one of the most beneficial hands on training programs we have done,” Cannon said. “It was really neat to see the departments work together on this.”

Along with the MICT, Communications, Journalism, and Theatre Department’s, the plan is to incorporate the Criminal justice Department into next year’s training session.

“We learned a lot of things that will help us improve the training next year,” Smith said.