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Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Blackhearts Use Realistic Simulations To Practice Life-Saving Skills

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Practice makes perfect, as they say, and that is no different for our first responders.

When seconds can make the difference in a life-saving effort, it is vital they are prepared.

It's Healthcare Simulation Week, which is meant to highlight professionals who use simulation practices to improve safety, efficiency and effectiveness of their jobs.

In light of this, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue's Blackheart Extrication Team and the University of Miami Gordon Center for Simulation teamed up to give an inside look at the type of work they do.

Simulation 3
(Source: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue)

At their training center, they recreated a crash scene, where a car was flipped on its side and a person was trapped inside who needed rescuing.

While it may look real, it was all just a drill.

"Simulation plays a large role in improving the techniques and the hands-on skills we apply to certain situations," said Captain Michael Ung with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

He said they conduct practice like this weekly.

"We try to make it as realistic as possible," he said.

They even use volunteers from the department to act as the victim and give feedback.

"Even though they maybe have done the job for 20 years, they've never been the victim in the car," said Maggie Castro, a firefighter and paramedic with MDFR. "We know what all the sounds and noises are, but it makes a huge difference when you're the one in the car waiting on someone to take you out."

Simulation 1
(Source: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue)

It takes a mix of hands-on training, technology and teamwork.

As Castro explains, their job is not an easy one.

"The common person might think 'oh, just open the door and get them out,'" said Castro. "There could be entrapments. The patient may not be able to get themselves out. We need to take our time and make sure we aren't hurting them further in getting them out of the car.

If you are in an accident, captain Michael Ung shares advice for drivers:

"In the event that someone does encounter an accident or entrapment in a vehicle, stay calm," he said. "Stay still. Do not move your head, neck, or back because that can cause further injuries."

The Blackhearts also compete with their skills. They have competed nationally and internationally for seven years, and they are currently ranked 3rd in the world.

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