Author Archives: Eileen Flynn

Zero to Crazy … Fun!

How do you turn a bunch of quiet, happy volunteers into a bunch of crazy dancing maniacs?  Turn on a camera!


Paramedics tending to a victim at Hotel Anderson. Photo by J. Scott.

The Community College of Aurora hosted the AMR National Clinical and Safety Championships on Sunday, July 15.  Around thirty volunteers from various organizations, including O.M.E.G.A., Aurora Citizen’s Police Academy alumni and others were tasked with providing distractions while four teams competed in scored responder challenges which included driving an obstacle course, eluding fake children running into their ambulances and extracting victims from two locations.

The locations included an area in a simulated hotel where a room was packed to the rafters and closely resembled living quarters where a hoarder might live.  The room not only looked authentic, but smells were added to enhance the “ambiance”.  Several volunteers were on scene to provide live challenges to the responders as they assessed the scene.

AMR Bar Party 2

Drunk dancers on the bar counter add to the out of control party
environment. Photo by K. Cunningham.

My husband Dave and I were assigned to the second scene where the responders were tasked with rescuing a fall victim from a bar scenario.  The bar was equipped with music, fake alcohol and many enthusiastic patrons.  Working from guidelines provided by team leaders and training representatives on site, our role was to provide a distraction for the responders.

The poor teams had to deal with a rowdy crowd of pushy, noisy and flirty “drunks”.  The group did a great job getting into character for each scenario.  With each scenario we honed our skills and became more adept at distracting/torturing the responders.  Whether it was taking video and taking pictures with cell phones or asking for fire fighters phone numbers the responders had plenty to deal with.  They all did a pretty good job of dealing with the mayhem.

AMR Bar Party 1

It takes seconds for a good conga line to form. Photo by K. Cunningham.

During downtimes we were lucky enough to have Otis, the simulation controller, on hand to give us feedback and tell us about his experiences during his 27 years as a paramedic with Denver Health.  Yikes.  We became a finely tuned unit who could turn on our game faces at the drop of a bucket.  On one occasion Pony Anderson came in and said “can you guys show Fox 31 how it works”?  In a matter of seconds it was party on!  By the fourth scenario all it took was a five second notice to get the conga line started as a warm up before everyone hit their marks.

We had a great time and received wonderful feedback  from  officials  associated  with  the  exercise.  It was a blast.  The responders sure earned their stripes during this contest.  We wish them well.