Simulated boat crash helps Pulaski County first responders train for emergencies

State, local agencies practiced responding to crash Monday at Claytor Lake

PULASKI COUNTY, Va. – About 10 minutes after a call for help from Pulaski County Emergency Medical Services Monday afternoon, a medical helicopter landed at Claytor Lake State Park to help triage and transport a simulated victim of a two-boat crash on the lake.

Robert Youther was the medic on the helicopter, and to make the scenario as realistic as possible he was not told ahead of time this was a simulation.

"It teaches us to always be ready for the unknown because we never know what we’re going to do when we come into our jobs," Youther said.

After landing, he and flight nurse Laura Whitlow rushed to the water to help, where triage was already underway by Pulaski County Emergency Medical Services.

"This was also multiple patients. For us, that’s always important because we need to learn, (if) we have multiple people, our triage process," Whitlow said.

Pulaski County EMS EMT Scott Proctor said learning the triage process was something he appreciates, too.

"It gives you a good way to figure out how you need to separate what you have and get your triage done to see who needs to go out, who is your critical patients that need to get out first,” Proctor said.

It's experience that can potentially save lives when there's a real emergency.

Event coordinator Nathan Davis said the training is important because it is a unique opportunity for the agencies involved.

“Similar incidents to this have occurred, with varying injuries, over the years. The chance to practice like this gives us the ability to take lessons learned from glitches that may occur in an unexpected situation and make sure that we refine our policies, procedures in order to make sure we have smooth operations,” Davis said.

Claytor Lake State Park Police and the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries also participated in the training.

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