Students Test Skills in Forest Trauma Exercise


MONT ALTO, Pa. - When working in the woods anything can happen, and being prepared for the worst can be the difference between life and death.

Students at the Penn State Mont Alto campus used a trauma exercise in the woods to put their skills to the test.

"It happens all the time in our industry, it’s a pretty serious thing," said Zach Dubbs, forest technology student. "It could be your best buddy standing beside you and the next thing he is hit by a tree and he is not standing beside you."

Using their CPR and first aid skills, the students found a patient simulator called iStan, as they treated his injuries and carried him out of the forest.

"I think making that emergency response for the first time, is the trickiest part," said Craig Houghton, forest technology professor.

In its fifth year, the trauma exercise was created by the Penn State Mont Alto forest technology and nursing programs, as a way to give their students hands-on experience in their future professions.

"I think I’m going to start in arboriculture climbing trees, so accidents can happen up there too; its pretty dangerous," said Richie Scott, forest technology student. 

After iStan was transported to the mock emergency room, the nursing students took charge.

"We were kind of use to our teachers telling us more guidance and today they were just watching and they were taping us doing it, so that was a little nerve-wracking," said Laura Bene, nursing student.

Then iStan was taken to the Life Lion helicopter for future treatment.

"I think the hardest thing was knowing that could happen when we are out in the mountains and that could be one of us at any time,” said Scott.

If it were to happen to them, they now have some training to back them up.

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