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Gaming Disaster Response

In St. Lillo, a medic's job never ends. First responders find themselves responding to chemical, biological and even nuclear disasters, treating large numbers of patients...
by | January 25, 2009

In St. Lillo, a medic's job never ends. First responders find themselves responding to chemical, biological and even nuclear disasters, treating large numbers of patients and addressing needs that far exceed available resources in crisis after crisis. St. Lillo is the fictional city in ZERO HOUR: America's Medic, a downloadable video game from George Washington University's Office of Homeland Security that offers a new way for states and localities to train emergency medical personnel on how to respond to large-scale disasters. EMS providers playing the game are tasked with completing a wide variety of missions based on four of 15 standard disaster scenarios. At different points in the game, players assume the roles of EMS Incident Commander, Triage Unit and Treatment Unit, which allows them to practice and test their knowledge and understanding of responsibilities they don't perform on a daily basis. It also challenges medics to test their critical decision-making skills in situations that mirror real disasters and large-scale events. Players are evaluated on how they managed the crisis in an "After Action Review." They are evaluated, for example, on the number of lives saved versus those lost, whether they properly assessed patient needs and whether they managed resources effectively. The game, which received a lot of press this past summer, is finally available online. View a demo of the game, or register to play for $14.95.

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