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'It's Unprecedented': Massachusetts National Guard Members Train To Help Hospital Staff

CONCORD (CBS) - Massachusetts National Guard men and women performed chest compressions on CPR dummies at a Brewster Ambulance depot, Tuesday. The media got an inside look at some of the training roughly 500 soldiers are currently undergoing to help the Commonwealth's stressed healthcare system. Starting Monday, they were deployed to 55 acute care hospitals and 12 ambulance companies.

At Brewster, the Guard will largely be in charge of transportation.

"They're going to be really operating the ambulance, helping with loading the stretcher, and moving patients from one bed to another," said Domenic Corey, Brewster's Director of Operations.

To prepare, Brewster helped the Guard men and women brush up on CPR Training. Then, they were brought to a coned ambulance course to learn how to drive the vehicles.

"It's unprecedented what we've been doing and I'm very happy that we can continue to do the mission like this," said National Guard Specialist Paul Nigro.

Emerson Hospital, in Concord, will receive assistance from five members of the National Guard starting Wednesday. Chief Nursing Officer Mark Mahnfeldt says they will be used in non-clinical roles.

"Like transporting patients. Being at the front desk to help with patient and family flow," Mahnfeldt said.

Mahnfeldt says Emerson is experiencing the same volume of patients that other healthcare facilities are seeing. He says his exhausted staff will welcome the help.

"They're going through a really tough time right now. This is emotionally challenging. It's the third wave they've gone through and they are getting tired," Mahnfeldt said.

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