New York Hope Teaches Disaster Basics

Regional News

A disaster could strike in an instant. Would you be prepared for the situation? New York Hope is an organization that teaches students the basics of disaster response through simulations.

“What New York Hope is is field training exercise where our students come in and they actually get to physically respond to a disaster situation,” said Debby Woglom, a member of the Nursing faculty at Elmira College and Exercise Director for New York Hope.

Saturday’s simulation was a plane crash. And though the students know nothing is real, they say emotions still run high.

“It’s very real, a lot of us have cried, we laughed, we’ve been hysterical, it’s crazy. You’re in chaos, it feels very real everything around you,” says Renata Lizak, a senior studying Nursing at Elmira College.

“Actually the realistic scenes that we have and people that are here help keep it real and you actually feel it and you feel the pressure. It’s incredible, so it’s a great scenario,” said Bob Johnson, a senior Nursing student at Elmria College.

Many people see floods or earthquakes on TV and want to help,  but officials say training is absolutely necessary before jumping to action.

“What this training does is let them know that it’s not easy. You have to train, you have to plan, you have to have the skills because they’re learning really quickly out here today that you can’t just run into a disaster scene or you’re going to be injured,” said Woglom.

Though many of the students who participated in Saturday’s simulation do have a background in nursing, officials say that the simulation can teach some valuable lessons to everyone.

“I mean this in general just builds character it makes you really realize a lot of things about yourself. Whether you’re good at taking direction versus giving direction,” said Kayla Margarum, a senior Nursing student at Elmira College.

“It really just makes you get out of your comfort zone,” said Margarum.

“We need skill sets from everyone there are some people who are good at planning there some people that are good at responding and we need all those different skill sets and a disaster not just medical skills sets,” said Woglom.

This was the first year New York Hope held their disaster simulation, but officials say they’re already looking ahead to next year’s event. 

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