Maine’s first assistants turn to virtual reality training to help children

Virtual reality headsets and training apps are designed to mimic real-life emergencies with children

WELLS, Maine: To help answer medical calls involving children, Maine’s first assistants turn to virtual reality.

“Definitive game changer,” said James Lapolla, director of Wells EMS.

Virtual reality headsets and training applications are designed to mimic real-life emergencies and bring first aid to the environment.

“With the inability to simulate that babies are sick and no one wants to practice it, we can make it more reality with virtual reality,” said Marc Minkler, program director at Maine EMS for Children.

Minkler is the manager of the Maine EMS for Children program. He said Maine is the first state in the country to provide statewide training.

“With COVID, we have found so many challenges with group learning to meet and spend time in the typical classroom environment and the contract so close we would have with an instructor during this, this virtual reality brings together the realism of ‘a pediatric patient but you can do it in a socially distant way,’ ”Minkler said

Maine EMS is partnering with York Hospital, Bath Fire and Rescue, Rockland Fire and EMS and Wells EMS to do an in-depth review of the program over a year.

“Every time we deal with an emergency with a child it’s a different level, so if we can have education, practice how to educate yourself, so that education is very important to us,” he said. Lapolla.

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