Students’ skills put through their paces in action-packed ‘Major Incident Day’

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2024

Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University became the site of a ‘major incident’ as part of an annual learning simulation event.  

Students and lecturers from Policing, Paramedic, Nursing, and Forensic Science degrees came together from across the University to take part in the ‘Major Incident Day’. 

The event, which was staged at the University’s Plas Coch campus, was coordinated to help students apply the skills that they have learned in the classroom to ‘real-life’ situations. 

Students also worked interprofessionally with other disciplines, to get a taste of what their roles could look like after qualifying.

In total, three incidents – including a ‘drug overdose’, a ‘two-vehicle road traffic collision’ and a ‘gunshot injury’ took place with students providing first aid, interviewing witnesses, obtaining witness statements and performing forensic examinations. 

The scenarios involved a range of the University’s facilities with students using the cutting-edge Health Simulation Suite – part of Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University’s ground-breaking Health and Education Innovation Quarter (HEIQ) unveiled last year – along with Tŷ Dysgu, a real house based on-campus which was purchased by the University for academic use. 

Students further benefited from volunteers from North Wales Police, North Wales Fire Service and North Wales Ambulance Services taking part in the simulation. Additionally, volunteers from Coleg Cambria assisted with the injury make-up for our actors, while our Media students captured video footage of the day.

Yasmin Lloyd-Williams, second year Policing student shared her experience of the event: “It is extremely realistic and brings it as close to a real-life scenario as possible.  

“It’s great to have the experience of working in spaces, such as a house or traffic collision, as these will be the sorts of calls we will respond to when we are qualified.” 

For first-year Policing Student, Abigail Lee, this was a new experience. She said: “It is good to ‘break the ice,’ work with the different professions and experience each other’s procedures. 

“We must be conscious of other professionals’ processes and how we need to work together in fast-paced situations such as these. There are also environmental factors to consider such as noise and the public, so it is great to have hands-on experience with this too.” 

Throughout the day, the ‘incidents’ featured a mix of state-of-the-art medical manikins and live actors to portray the casualties. ‘Evidence’ collected by Policing students on the day will also be used later in the year by Law students as part of a simulated court case. 

Final year Forensic Science student Katie Hughes gave us her view of the day: “We have done a lot of ‘crime scene scenarios’ previously, but this is the first time we have worked alongside the Paramedics, Fire, and Police. 

“It is a great test of seeing what it will be like to work with these groups, in a situation like this that can be quite hectic. 

“As Forensic Scientists, we’re very aware of letting the other teams do what they need to do whilst trying to preserve as much evidence as possible.” 

Academics who oversaw the day explained the benefits for students. Sally Bottomley, Lecturer in Paramedic Science said: “It is fantastic to have this level of simulation for students to experience how things work in practice placement.  

“It is valuable for the students to also coordinate with the other disciplines and consider the danger involved with certain scenes, such as the incident involving firearms.  

“We’re grateful to have volunteers from the emergency services here today so our students can see leadership skills in these situations, and also practice how to remain professional and make decisions in stressful situations.” 

The ‘Major Incident Day’ runs annually for students at Prifysgol Wrecsam/Wrexham University and continues to play an integral role in developing students’ skills to succeed in their future careers.