EMS professionals put their skills to the test at PBSC
Emergency medical services teams from around the state competed at Palm Beach State College’s third annual Panther EMS Challenge, held April 15 at the Public Safety Training Center on the Lake Worth campus.
The fast-paced competition tested the teams’ knowledge and skills in advanced life support through a series of demanding, realistic medical scenarios that involved full-body human patient simulators (wireless, computerized mannequins) as well as people portraying patients.
Twelve professional teams competed, including teams from Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, and as far north as Orange and Levy counties. Margate Fire Rescue won first place, Broward Sheriff’s Office won second, and Orlando Fire Rescue won third.
Student in Palm Beach State’s Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic programs gained a great deal from the experience. “For the students, it’s an immense help because they actually get to see the best paramedics in the state perform their jobs,” said Ken Woodcum, an adjunct instructor for the PBSC Paramedic program.
Two student teams also competed, with Coral Springs Regional Institute of Public Safety placing first over the American Medical Academy from Miami. As hosts, Palm Beach State’s EMT and Paramedic students did not compete, but performed the customary test run of the scenarios prior to the competition.
“It’s one of the most challenging events in the state,” noted Woodcum. “Our goal is to make it as overwhelming as possible, which the competitors like—the harder it is, the better they like it.”
Andre Merlucci, first-time participant and crew chief/paramedic for Plantation Fire Rescue, had heard that the Panther EMS Challenge was a worthwhile competition with interesting scenarios. “It’s good to get better training to bring back to the street to really help people. That’s why we do all this, to make sure we’re at the top of our game to take care of our own citizens.”
Laerdal Medical, manufacturer of human patient simulators and other medical training products and equipment, sponsored the event.