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Emergency response training goes mobile thanks to SIM-South Dakota

SIM truck presented at Sanford conference.
Veda Tonneson
SIM-South Dakota
SIM truck presented at Sanford conference.

Despite having extremely important jobs, first responders have few opportunities to practice lifesaving skills without the pressure that comes with a real emergency.

SIM-South Dakota prioritizes providing training to medical personnel who work in emergency situations.

SIM stands for Simulation in Motion. The program’s SIM trucks mimic realistic situations in emergency vehicles and hospitals. At a conference hosted at Sanford Health, the public had the chance to witness the impressive technology of the SIM trucks.

Travis Spier, the SIM-South Dakota’s Director of Simulation, said the SIM trucks allow first responders the chance to practice their training without risking lives.

“We can almost replicate any type of medical emergency or trauma emergency safely,” he said. “And a patient doesn’t have to suffer, you know. They don’t have to… it’s not a real patient that’s encountering that emergency.”

SIM-South Dakota was the first statewide program funded by the Helmsley Charitable Trust. Since starting in 2009, the program has been replicated in several other Midwest states.

With the mobility of the SIM trucks, simulated emergency training can be brought to rural areas that don’t usually have the opportunity to practice lifesaving procedures.

Spier says the training provided by SIM programs boosts confidence in medical workers.

“People are more comfortable, they’re more confident because they have the opportunity to maybe practice two-three times a year out of the trucks,” he said. “And so, they’re getting to encounter these rare clinical emergencies on a more frequent basis.”

Veda is an English and journalism major at Augustana University in Sioux Falls. She loves writing and storytelling, and she plans to pursue a career as a journalist after graduation.