The CDP’s Healthcare Leadership for Mass Casualty Incidents (HCL) program is adding realistic elements to its courses by including role players in the exercises.
The role players take on many different faces, such as an politicians, family members, the police and protestors.
“The role players portray the people the responders are likely to encounter at a real incident response,” Chuck Medley, assistant director for training delivery, said.
The role players act from scripts that are written before the exercise. The goals is to take these exercises to the next level.
“They add realism and a sense of urgency to the exercises,” Medley said. “A mannequin can depict an injured person in an exercise and give the students a subject to triage and treat. It takes the training to a whole new level when you have someone in front of you who is bleeding and screaming for help.”
Often, the role players act as crucial parts of the overall exercise, providing clues for the course objectives. An example would be a patient that is displaying signs of a disease or virus -- clues the course attendees must pick up on.
“While we knew it was an exercise in training, you kept thinking in your mind, ‘Is it? Is it really?’” Vicki Buchanan, HCL student, said. “The pressure was on, and it was absolutely intense.”