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Pittsburgh Facility Prepares First Responders For Disaster Situations

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(Source: KDKA-TV) Susan Koeppen
A nationally known, award-winning journalist, Susan Koeppen co-anc...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA)— In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings, there has been heightened security in Pittsburgh — especially surrounding the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon which took place on May 5th.

It went on without a hitch, and first responders were ready. But how do they learn to handle mass casualities?

Many of them have trained at one of the top simulation centers in the world — and it’s located here in Pittsburgh.

The Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation, Education and Research (WISER) is a collaboration between UPMC and the University of Pittsburgh.

“We are trying to make this as real as possible,” says Doctor Paul Phrampus, the director of WISER. “We expect perfect health care, we expect error free health care, and we need to prepare people for the things they haven’t seen before.”

Phrampus and his team showed KDKA one part of the facility where they can simulate disasters.

On the day KDKA stopped by, the room was set up to look like an explosion had taken place outside PNC Park.

There were mock victims, fake blood, fake chunks of concrete, along with smoke and noise.

Greg Porter from Ross, West View EMS was there to take part in the disaster simulation.

“I think the take home message for Pittsburgh is we’ve been fortunate to have training for a long time so we have always been prepared for something like this,” says Porter.

The simulation room can be turned into different scenarios, like a trauma bay in the Emergency Room. UPMC medical resident Josh Shulman calls the training at WISER one-of-a-kind.

“What we do everyday in emergency medicine you never know what is going to come in the door, so you need to be prepared for anything. And that’s what you get here at WISER,” says Shulman.

WISER has been training doctors, nurses and first responders to name a few for the past 20 years.

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