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Calif. high school unveils new ambulance simulator for EMT training

Los Alamitos High School will use the simulator in its training to prepare students for EMT certification


Emergency response pathway instructor Ryan Weatherman demonstrates the new ambulance simulator at Los Alamitos High School in Los Alamitos, CA, on Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024. The simulator is used in the school’s EMT class.

Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG

By Jeff Gritchen
The Orange County Register

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — When Ryan Weatherman sounds the alarm, his students jump into action, boarding an ambulance and getting to work on their patient.

Except, the students are seniors at Los Alamitos High School, the ambulance is a simulator in Room 806 and the patient is a dummy who is always sick.

Wednesday morning, Weatherman, the high school’s emergency response pathway instructor, helped officials unveil a new state-of-the-art ambulance simulator.

Built to the same scale as a real ambulance, it has simulated oxygen and suction and flashing lights. Inside the ambulance is an interactive mannequin on a gurney capable of simulating vital signs, respiratory sounds and EKGs. The ambulance is also equipped with four interior cameras to let students outside see what’s happening and allow students to review their work.

Only a few schools in the country have ambulance simulators, Weatherman, who is also a paramedic, said. “It really gives the students a real-world feel in the classroom – a controlled environment – for when they go out in the field.”

The EMT class is sanctioned by the California EMS Association and prepares students to take the national exam required to get their EMT license.

“They’ll be ready to get a job as soon as they graduate,” Weatherman said.

The simulator arrived in January and helped turn the EMT class from mostly lectures and book learning into a more hands-on experience.

“Being able to sit in the back and work as though we’re in a real ambulance – being able to touch and work on the patient – it’s great,” student Mateo Pellegrino said.

The $72,000 simulator was paid for by the North Orange County Regional Occupational Program, which partners with the school to run the career training program.

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