It's National EMS week, which seems like the perfect time describe the "mock accident" that the Westport Ambulance Squad conducted at WCS earlier this month. The event was organized by Dave Napper, an EMT on our squad, who worked with the school to give students a graphic picture of what can happen when steel, flesh, and velocity come together.

We responded to the mock accident the way we respond to any accident, by rolling an ambulance and any necessary vehicles from the fire department. We brought the rescue truck, which holds our "jaws of life" and other tools. Often we'll bring fire trucks, too, not only for fire suppression but also to help manage traffic. As we leave the firehouse, we let dispatch know which vehicles are going, and usually the EMT in the ambulance will radio E'town Hospital to give them a heads-up on the situation.

After making sure the scene is safe, the first job is triage-figuring out how many patients are involved and deciding which ones require attention first. At the mock accident, we had one "fatality," one "drunk motorist," and two "patients." While the police dealt with the "drunk," we began treating and extricating the injured patients. EMTs provided cervical spine stabilization (to prevent spinal cord injury) while firefighters chocked the vehicle to stabilize it and operated the "jaws." We then transferred the patients to backboards and loaded them onto stretchers and into the ambulance. We also monitor vital signs and gather information during this process, as well as performing any other emergency medical care needed. On the way to the hospital, we radio ahead with further information, so they know what's coming. Readers curious about National EMS week can go to www.acep.org/emsweek.

The Inn on the Library Lawn Coffee Shop is open for breakfast every morning now, as well as in the early evening Wednesday-Sunday. And Lakeside Preschool is holding its annual benefit yard sale this weekend, May 21 and 22, starting at 9 a.m., at 4 Harbourview Terrace here in town. Come browse their selection of furniture, sporting goods, clothes, toys, books and more.

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