By JOE WEPPLER
Conestoga College’s Doon campus is home to a new lab, designed to help students in emergency response programs learn through simulated training scenarios.
The Motz Pre-Hospital Care Laboratory recently opened after receiving finding through a donation of $275,000 by the Motz family. Tom Motz, who serves as vice chair of the board of trustees for St. Mary’s Hospital, spoke to the audience at the unveiling of the lab about the importance of first-responders. The new lab is a haven for Conestoga’s paramedic, firefighter and policing students to learn their craft.
“Students are in there all the time studying,” said Melissa Sklepetas, a second-year paramedic student. “(It’s) more of a first-responders’ lab.”
The state-of-the-art training space is host to an imitation ambulance, a large projector screen to bring life to the simulated emergency situations and real emergency equipment that first-responders use in the field. The walls of the lab are lined with racks of medical dummies to play the role of victim in the simulated scenarios.
“I hope we get to do a lot of practical work there,” said Radhika Chhibber, a first-year protection, security and investigation student. “I’m excited to see what they have to offer.”
The hands-on simulation training provided by the lab will help students to not only develop their skills, but also directly experience situations that they might otherwise only learn about in a classroom setting. The focal points of the lab are the mock ambulance and the projector.
“The screen comes all the way to the floor, and we can project different scenarios,” said Nathan Loehle, a first-year paramedic student.
For example, being outside in a snowstorm. The scenarios also make use of sound to immerse the students and help them practise their decision-making in high-intensity situations.
“We’ve already done a lot of work in here,” he said.
Conestoga president John Tibbits attended the opening of the lab and thanked the Motz family for their support. The Motz family has also invested in the Emergency Services Training Bay at Doon campus and the trades programs out of the Waterloo campus.
The generous donations by the family are just some of many that help to keep Conestoga’s emergency care programs on the cutting edge. Darch Fire, a supplier of fire and emergency vehicles and equipment based in Ayr, Ont., recently donated a fire truck to the pre-service firefighter program that is already being used in five separate courses.
Emergency care and protective services programs such as police foundations, paramedic and pre-service firefighter operate under Conestoga’s School of Health and Life Sciences and Community Services.