Emergency drill at Cornell College May 8

Emergency medical service crews will take over the Cornell College Small Sport Center on May 8, 2021, for a rare training opportunity. 

Regional fire, police, and ambulance services are teaming up with Cornell College’s construction projects manager, Scott Ladwig, and construction partner, Mortenson, to hold an emergency drill. They’ll use the Small Sport Center to practice life-saving scenarios because it’s currently in the demolition stage of a $19.5 million renovation and expansion. The building will reopen in the fall of 2022 as the renewed Richard and Norma Small Athletic and Wellness Center (the SAW).

Multiple rescue teams will have the opportunity to participate in live exercises that may include forced entry, working in a constrained space, vertical lifts, and working directly with the construction crew on lockout tag-out procedures. Dummies or actors will be staged with simulated symptoms that crews will assess and use for clues in how to safely resolve the rescue situations.

“This kind of training opportunity, where you get a real-world experience without associated risk is invaluable to EMS teams,” said Ladwig, a first responder himself. “We’ll create some tough scenarios with possible cascading consequences if they don’t think through every step they take and its possible implications. This will give them tools that they can use in the field to keep challenging situations as controlled as possible and reduce the risk to themselves and the people they are assisting.”

After each scenario is complete, the crews will deconstruct what happened and discuss what was successful and if they need to change or improve their responses in any way. This kind of hands-on exercise pairs well with what Cornell does in the classroom as a key part of our Ingenuity curriculum

“We know how important these experiential activities are,” said Ladwig. “That’s why there was no question about whether we’d offer this opportunity to our community partners who keep our students safe.” 

Ladwig also says this event will help build relationships with EMS providers. By inviting them to spend time in the campus buildings, they’ll build their knowledge about the campus and the layout of the buildings, which helps improve response times in the event of any future emergency.

The drill will start at around 8 a.m. The campus community is asked to keep a safe distance during the drill.