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Mass Casualty Simulation Helps Nat'l Guard, Children's Minnesota Practice Treating Kids

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- An emergency can happen at a moment's notice, and treating kids can be quite different than helping adults.

Stinging cuts, deep bruises and nasty gashes. They're not real injuries, but they look close enough -- and that's the point.

This is part of a training exercise for the Minnesota Air National Guard's 133rd Airlift Wing. Dr. Samreen Vora is the simulation's medical director.

"We use makeup and we use prosthetics to create fake wounds and to make it look as real as possible," Vora said.

Sunday, with the guidance of Children's Minnesota, they rehearsed what to do if a tornado were to hit a school, injuring students. Capt. Jordann Crowley is with the 133rd Airlift Wing's Medical Group.

"We've had to triage kids into different tents, depending on the medical complications they're experiencing," Crowley said. "It's been a really great experience to learn the skills from our subject-matter experts with Children's Minnesota, and then to take those skills and apply them to scenarios and simulations."

Mass Casualty Training Children's Minnesota and National Guard
(credit: CBS)

The goal is to make the training as real as possible in order to build muscle memory of how to respond to not only the stress, but also any type of disaster.

"This style of training is so critical because simulation really not only provides that realism, so your stress levels go up, and so you learn to build that muscle memory in a situation that you are not used to," Vora said.

She says treating pediatric patients is different than adults. These exercises with the National Guard and other community groups help prepare first responders, while also offering a chance for feedback and improvement.

"As a Level I Pediatric Trauma Center, we want to be prepared to really collaborating with our community partners to accept those patients that might be coming in, or to go out and partner with them to really offer our kid expertise and care for those pediatric patients," Vora said.

The kids that played victims are part of a community program where they learn emergency preparedness. Many have acting backgrounds and want to become first responders themselves.

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