UK College of Pharmacy Students Help Lexington Prepare for Disasters
April 29, 2016
Lexington, Kentucky is known for being a peaceful, easy going city. It’s not unusual to find residents and visitors sitting on the patio of a gastropub, sharing a fine meal with friends while sipping a locally distilled spirit and enjoying a gentle breeze and Lexington’s brilliant blue skies.
Shoppers and diners in the Beaumont Centre area of the city had no reason to expect their Sunday evening would anything but peaceful on September 7, 2014, but shortly after 6 PM the area was rocked by an explosion that leveled most of a three story hotel. A minor auto accident caused a gas line rupture and triggered the massive explosion. Before first responders arrived on scene, hotel employees and others in the area evacuated the building and immediately provided aid to people impacted by the blast.
This real-life explosion inspired the scenario Lexington’s most recent Community Emergency Response Team class faced during their final exercise Wednesday night. University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy students were on hand to help. Guided by their professor and mentor, Dr. Regan Baum, students acted as victims with blast injuries including blast lung, fractures, lacerations, severe burns, smoke and debris inhalation, and psychological trauma.
“The importance of emergency preparedness cannot be understated. Equally as important is the compassion we display to the people we care for during times of high acuity and stress”, said Dr. Regan Baum, Emergency Medicine Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at UK HealthCare and Assistant Adjunct Professor at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy. “Experiences such as this allow students to remove themselves from the sterile environment of the classroom and get a glimpse of what it is like to be on the other side of direct patient care. My hope for everyone involved in the exercise is they have a new perspective on their role in community emergency preparedness and that it excites them to become involved in activities such as this in the future.”
Community Emergency Response Teams are trained in emergency operations, light search and rescue, fire suppression, triage, minor medical care, and psychological first aid. Each training session culminates in a realistic disaster exercise that provides the sights, sounds, and stresses of an emergency in a controlled environment.
This fall, University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy students will have the opportunity to become certified members of Lexington’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) while earning college credit. Students will participate in a 9-week course that covers CERT curriculum designed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The course will be taught by first responders, hospital emergency operations and medical care personnel, and experts in severe weather phenomena and terrorism.
Shelley Roberts Bendall, Preparedness Coordinator for the Division of Emergency Management and Division of Public Safety of the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government is excited about the new partnership. “We are very excited about our partnership with the UK College of Pharmacy. Lexington CERT is always looking for ways to cooperate with other agencies within our town to promote disaster preparedness. Pharmacy students are in a unique position to help us do that. They will play active roles in their medical communities and can reach out to folks with whom we may not have been able to reach with our preparedness message.”
To learn more about Lexington’s Community Emergency Response Team, please visit BeReadyLexington.com/CERT.
To learn more about Community Emergency Response Team opportunities in your area, please visit fema.gov.