April 24, 2018

Student first responders victorious in province-wide competition

Student Medical Response team awarded top prizes at 2018 St. John Ambulance competition
Erik Fraunberger and Claire Hinse of the Student Medical Response team.
Erik Fraunberger and Claire Hinse of the Student Medical Response team. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

On the morning of April 7, members of the Student Medical Response (SMR) team arrived to quite a scene at the Newcap Radio stage in West Edmonton Mall.

The SMR team travelled to Edmonton to compete in the 2018 St. John Ambulance First Aid Competition, where students from Paul Kane High School’s drama club brought an emergency response simulation to life. The teens acted out a scenario in which they were injured skateboarding on a construction site. The SMR team competed against 20 other teams of emergency responders from across Alberta.

Intense competition for top awards

Teams were judged on their initial scene assessment, prioritization, and treatment of patients, according to Claire Hinse, team captain and co-director of training for the SMR team.

Erik Fraunberger and Hinse of the Student Medical Response team are pictured above.

“We had two scenarios to work through. The first was a cardiac arrest scenario with one patient. All four responders on our team worked together to perform CPR on the patient,” Hinse said. “Our second scenario was an accident at a construction site, where four teens had fallen into an open excavation. We had to first assess the scene safety and remove all the hazards, then triage the patients and decide where we wanted to use our limited equipment.”

SMR team members Hinse, Janna Newton, Renée Nutini and Cassandra Chisholm went home with two top awards: highest overall scoring team and best emergency responder team.

SMR team volunteers are no strangers to winning at the St. John Ambulance competition, in last year’s competition they took home three awards: best emergency responder team, best novice team and best overall score.

Renée Nutini, Janna Newton, Cassandra Chisholm and Claire Hinse of the Student Medical Response team.

Renée Nutini, Janna Newton, Cassandra Chisholm and Claire Hinse of the Student Medical Response team

Vince Vong, University of Calgary

Practice in the field means more effective first response on campus

Competing in field competitions helps SMR team first responders prepare for emergencies on campus, said Erik Fraunberger, director of training.

“The competition is important from a training perspective, maybe a responder doesn’t have experience in the field, or they haven’t seen this type of injury before. It gets them thinking on their feet, as we only had 15 minutes to treat five people,” he explained.

Communication and trust are key takeaways from the competition, Hinse believes.

“We learned how to communicate better. Before we started the drill, we had limited time so we had to define our roles. When we got in there, we had to trust each other. Trust everyone was going to do their role and everyone knew what they were doing,” she said. 

“I think communication was a big thing that helped us grow as a team and that trust in each other’s abilities. We are better first responders because of it.”

Volunteer for the SMR team

Interested in getting involved? Volunteer with the SMR team this fall.

The SMR team is an accredited medical first-response agency with Alberta Health Services EMS and is the first program of its type in Western Canada. Since 2014, they have provided the University of Calgary with skilled pre-hospital emergency medical care during events on campus. The team is made of 30 student volunteers who are first responders, paramedics, firefighters, lifeguards, nursing and medical students.