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Artificial Man Aids EMT Training Exercise; Hundreds Attend F.D. Open House

Emergency responders typically practice techniques on an expressionless mannequin that lies still like a plastic impostor.

But Phil is no dummy.

The computer-simulated artificial man accurately mirrors human responses with a chest that breathes, a mouth that speaks and eyes that move around and blink at the technicians who are usually surprised by his life-like simulations.

On Sunday, hundreds of children, like 4-year-old Sadie Beth Baker, filed through the Daviess County Fire Department's open house for a chance to see the firetrucks and experience the smoke simulator in the Safe House.

"I got to call 911," Baker said with a grin after learning about fire safety.

But across the field, firefighters took turns caring for Phil during the second arm of their two-day Emergency Medical Technician re-certification.

Ron Wilkerson, who has been working with EMS at the volunteer Masonville Fire Department for almost 10 years, said the hands-on training throughout the day was some of the best training he had ever received.

But Wilkerson admits he was a little taken aback by Phil's pulse that can be found in six areas of the body.

"When we stepped in and I saw his chest was rising, I thought, now that's not normal for a mannequin," he said. "But they give you a scenario and you check his vital signs, like if his pupils are dilating, and you have to think and go back to your training and hope what you're doing is what the patient needs."

Kenny Watts, educational coordinator for PHI Air Medical of Kentucky, said the simulated ambulance carrying Phil travels to about three or four locations throughout the state to give emergency responders true-to-life experience by working with Phil.

The realistic-tissued "Metiman" is a computer driven dummy that Watts controls from behind the scenes. Phil's body includes twitching body parts and reactive eyes as well as the capacity to respond to an IV, defibrillator or intravenous medications.

Phil can even be transformed into a woman who is in her final trimester of pregnancy, a soldier, an elderly woman or a truck driver with cardiac history.

Watts, who can actually serve as Phil's voice, said it is the best real-life simulator for officials.

"It's able to duplicate any procedures out in the emergency medical services," he said. "It's probably the most realistic you can get as far as training goes."

Three cameras film from inside the ambulance as fellow workers can watch outside from a flat screen TV built into the side of the ambulance. Workers are given a DVD of their training so they can evaluate their own work once they have helped meet Phil's needs.

Daviess County Fire Department Lt. Tim Benningfield said nearly 80 responders went through 16 stations to receive their re-certification. Each station was lead by guest instructors from Air Evac, Life Flight, State Fire Rescue, Yellow Ambulance Service of Daviess County and Owensboro Medical Health System, and was designed to give hands-on training rather than media-based classroom lessons.

"I'm a hands on learner," said Mike Jones, chief of the Daviess County Dive and Rescue Team. "I learn better out here doing this than sitting in a room watching a film or slide. The retention is a whole lot better."

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