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Competition Teaching Paramedics Life Lessons

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Vanessa Borge began her career with CBS4 News in 2009 as an assignment...
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MIAMI (CBSMiami.com) – When paramedics gathered at UM’s Gordon Center Wednesday, they weren’t there to fight a fire. Instead, they were there honing their skills in the UM Stephanie Browne Advanced Life Support Paramedic Competition.

The competition tests the acumen of the paramedics as they face emergency situations using hi-fidelity simulators and incorporating some of today’s real-life disaster scenarios.

Each team of three paramedics from ten different fire departments across South Florida were briefed on an emergency situation. They suited up and headed to the call. They were told a young boy had become unconscious and could not breathe, but his mother is deaf.

“That’s another challenge they come across. Some teams have people who can sign language. Many fire departments are sending their people to train on sign language now,” said Alex Fernandez from City of Miami Fire Rescue.

Along with treating the young boy, the paramedics have to find a man in the kitchen. He’s sustained 2nd and 3rd degree burns from a pot of hot grease, which is a likely scenario for people who cook inside.

With Army personnel supervising and judges keeping score, paramedic teams were graded on their skills in extreme situations which helps them better serve in real life scenarios. The ten teams had 15 minutes each to arrive and successfully treat the victims.

“It makes you react very quickly. If someone can’t breathe you need to be able to react very quickly,” Melanie Lederman a student at the Florida Medical Training Institute said.

While there was an eventual winner; the training for real life disasters means all the teams win, and so do the people they live and love to serve.

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