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Penn College EMS Students Take Part in Prison Drill

Pennsylvania College of Technology students assisted as %E2%80%9Cpatients%E2%80%9D during a mass-casualty drill at the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg. From left are students Gage E. Lyons-McCracken, Michael D. Eshbach, Steven E. Elliott, Matthew B. Kershes and Cheryl L. Tompkins%3B alumnus and paramedic and training coordinator at the penitentiary, Bryan Walls%3B and student Michael R. Taylor. The students are sporting makeup that was used to simulate injuries during the drill.Pennsylvania College of Technology students volunteered recently to assist in a drill for medical staff at the U.S. Penitentiary at Lewisburg.

Invited by Bryan Walls, a paramedic and training coordinator at USP Lewisburg, six students from the emergency medical services program at the college used their medical knowledge to act out injuries during the prison’s annual mass casualty drill.

The students applied makeup called “moulage” to simulate injuries.

“Once the drill was started and the staff began to arrive at the scene, the students fell right into character,” said Walls, a 2002 graduate of the college’s paramedic technology major. “They did a terrific job acting out their parts. They responded appropriately to the treatments they received, good or bad. Then, when the drill was over, they offered constructive criticisms and helpful suggestions during the debriefing.”

Student participants in the Dec. 10 drill were Steven E. Elliott, of Grove City; Michael D. Eshbach, of York; Matthew B. Kershes, of Quakertown; Gage E. Lyons-McCracken, of Mount Jewett; Michael R. Taylor, of Williamsport; and Cheryl L. Tompkins, of South Williamsport.

Following the drill, the students were invited to tour the penitentiary’s Health Services Unit.

“They got an appreciation for some of our strict security procedures as they were screened before entering the facility,” Walls said.

In addition to learning about Walls’ job responsibilities, the students met with Ryan Parkyn, who graduated in 2001 with an associate degree in paramedic technology and is assistant health services administrator at USP Lewisburg.

For the students, participation in the drill provided a learning experience outside the classroom and an opportunity to see an example of an atypical paramedic position.

“Increasingly, paramedics are being hired to apply their knowledge base and skill set to unique settings, including remote locations such as oil platforms, austere situations including tactical medicine as a member of SWAT/Police teams, and as primary care providers in the prison system,” said Mark A. Trueman, director of paramedic technology programs. “The success of these alumni is an excellent example of how our graduates have found success and promotion in settings beyond ambulance and fire services.”

“Since the drill, I have gotten many positive comments from the staff (at USP Lewisburg) about the drill and the students’ participation,” Walls said. “The staff were very impressed with the students’ “˜injuries’ and their portrayal of those injuries.”

To learn more about emergency medical services and other academic programs offered by the School of Health Sciences at Penn College, call 570-327-4519 or visit online .

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