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Fort High First Responders laud ‘METIman’

By Heather Latter, Fort Frances Times Ltd.

A group of 22 First Responders at Fort Frances High School are ecstatic about the recent addition to their team.
“METIman”—a $60,000 technologically-advanced simulator mannequin—arrived recently and will mark a significant improvement in the training of student First Responders there.
“It’s so much better for learning because it’s so realistic,” noted senior First Responder Samantha Martin.
Martin enacted a scenario last Thursday with fellow First Responders Cassandra Jackson and Taylor Clinker—and all three indicated they learned more during that session than they had previously.
“It’s so much more interactive,” said Clinker, explaining the group’s former mannequin, “Annie,” which only was comprised of an upper body, made it difficult to engage in the scenario at hand.
“Annie is lifeless . . . and funny-looking,” she noted.
Clinker added when practising with the old mannequin, they constantly had to ask program co-ordinator and local paramedic John Beaton how the patient was supposed to be responding to the treatment they offered.
“It was a lot of pretending,” admitted Jackson, noting they couldn’t even use their equipment on the former mannequin because it might break.
Meanwhile, “METIman,” which the First Responders have nicknamed “Rory Paulson,” provides a realistic learning environment for local youth.

“‘METIman’ is a high-tech computer that is programmable and looks and reacts like a real person,” explained Beaton, noting it talks, has a pulse, and even can simulate different kinds of trauma.
It is wireless (powered by rechargeable batteries), with on-board fluid, pneumatic, and electrical systems.
And it’s built tough to withstand a wide variety of real-life, indoor, and outdoor learning environments.
It comes equipped with a user interface and touch screen capability that connects wirelessly to any computer network. And it can be simulated for all kinds of different scenarios.
There also is a kit that provides a variety of realistic wounds that easily can be applied to the mannequin.
“METIman” features eyes that blink, as well as dilate and constrict, and it is reactive to light. There is vocalization and speech—both male and female sounds that can be programed to say phrases such as “I can’t breathe,” along with coughing and wheezing noises.
As well, there is a wireless microphone that allows the instructor to interact with the students.
There is a realistic airway, and students can practise intubating nasally and orally. And they have the ability to use real defibrillation and pacing on “METIman.”
The mannequin includes 14 pulse points, a variety of internal sounds, and a chest that rises and falls as it breathes.
Students also can realistically practise inserting IVs, taking blood pressure, and doing chest compressions. There also is male and female genitalia that can be catheterized and urinary output.
As well, the neck has a full range of motion so students can rehearse mobilization, and limbs can be removed to demonstrate amputation.
“This is a piece of equipment for everyone to learn and use from,” stressed Beaton, adding it also will be used for the local P.A.R.T.Y. program and there will be the opportunity for others to rent it out for training purposes.
FFHS First Responders said “Rory Paulson” will allow them to build their confidence by better preparing them for incidents they might respond to. They’ve been on the scene to assess with everything from chemical burns and drug overdoses to lacerations, bone trauma, and seizures at the high school.
Until now, if the First Responders had a situation where someone was unconscious, for many they would be seeing it for the first time as it was happening.
While they were trained to deal with these situations, most of their education has come from textbooks rather than hands-on experience, such as the kind “METIman” offers.
“METIman” can accurately simulate an unconscious individual and allow the First Responders to practise their skills, which, in turn, builds confidence.
“Having ‘METIman’ is a great learning experience,” enthused First Responder Justin Bartesch. “We’re going to learn so much more.
“And we really appreciate all the donations so that we could have the privilege of getting this.”
Presentations were made to businesses and service clubs across the district to gather to funds to purchase “METIman.”
Donations were provided by the Community Policing Committee Rainy River District, Emo Lions Club, Fort Frances Chiefs Secretariat, Royal Canadian Legion Br. #29 (Fort Frances), the Royal Canadian Legion Ladies Auxiliary Br. #29, and the local Kiwanis Club.
Funding also was received from the Moffat Family Fund, Ontario Healthy Communities Fund, Rainy River District Safe Communities, Rainy River District School Board, the Royal Bank Foundation, and TD Canada Trust.
Meanwhile, the new mannequin also has brought more attention to the group, with more newcomers joining the program this year.
The First Responder program at Fort High is unique because it is the only school in the province that has one—and now they have state-of-the-art technology to aid in their training.
A local paramedic and former FFHS First Responder, who now helps with the program, said she didn’t even have access to equipment as good as “METIman” when she was training to be a paramedic.
“They are really lucky to have this opportunity,” she stressed, noting it’s great experience for those who want to continue with a career in the medical field.

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