SIM-NE fleet brings high-tech training to first responders in rural Nebraska
ADAMS, NE — First responders have to be ready for anything no matter where they are.
Nebraska’s Simulation in Motion — also known as SIM-NE — fleet works to do just that.
“The ability to bring that training right to their doorstep is huge,” Phillip Oelschlager said.
Phillip Oelschlager is the regional coordinator for SIM-NE in southeast Nebraska. He says the the truck have two simulation rooms, one for an E.R. and the other an ambulance.
It comes fully equipped with high-fidelity training dummies which are designed to give the most realistic experience possible. The adult female training dummy can even deliver a newborn.
"They have pulses, they talk, they breathe, they cry," Oelschlager said. "We like to say they can do anything but get up and walk away from the stretcher."
The simulations are all handled from a control center in the middle of the truck. From here, staff ensure the patients respond to medications and treatments the way a real person would.
Wednesday night the truck was in Adams for a training session with Adams Fire and Rescue.
State Senator and Adams Fire and Rescue member Myron Dorn says the technology that goes into the trucks is impressive.
"It's basically like you have a real patient there," he said. "They can set the different scenarios to have high blood pressure, low blood pressure, no heartbeat, a combination of those things or not breathing. Then we get the training as how do we best handle that situation?"
He says it’s a great resource to give even the most rural departments the best possible training.
"We don't all have to drive one hour or two hours to go somewhere," Dorn said. "It's really valuable to have this training to update us, to refresh us so we are as skilled and as knowledgeable as we can be when we have those situations."
Launched in 2017, SIM-NE is run through the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). There are four trucks located throughout the state in Omaha, Kearney, Norfolk and Scottsbluff.
"We have the ability to touch everyone in this state," Oelschlager said. "If you are in an emergency situation and the people of Adams Rescue come out and take care of you, they are better trained because of us. You have benefitted from our program indirectly by having those volunteers trained to the highest level."
SIM-NE was originally funded through a $5.5 million grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust. It allowed for the purchase of trucks and all equipment and covered operation costs for the first three years of the program. Partners and other funders are being sought to sustain the training program.
Rural emergency medical service agencies and critical access hospitals can request training by visiting UNMC's website.