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Annaville Fire Departments gets hands-on training with simulated mannequin

Posted at 7:23 PM, Jun 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-09 20:33:11-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — He’s a mannequin that breathes, bleeds, sweats, and even cries and his name is Charlie, a life-size doll that helped paramedics and firefighters at the Annaville Fire Department understand what a patient is going through.

Whether it’s cardiac arrest, an allergic reaction, or a heart attack, Charlie simulates what is happening to a patient's body.

Charlie resides in a sim-bulance, a simulated ambulance that is used for training firefighters and paramedics.

Guadalupe Cordero, a firefighter and paramedic for the Annaville Fire Department, said the simulation helped him better understand what he will be facing on the field.

“You get your hands-on training without actually being on a patient yet so it prepares you for the ever-changing field we’re in,” Cordero said.

Cordero said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way he does his job because he is facing a virus he has never had to work with. He said the difference when working with Charlie is that he isn’t exposed to the virus, yet he gets the same experience a patient is going through.

“We’re not exposed to the diseases and stuff and we’re able to go ahead and protect ourselves and if we make a mistake out here we’re able to go ahead and fix it before we go out on to the field and expose ourselves,” Cordero said.

Charlie is controlled by a computer outside of the ambulance and it is the epicenter of Charlie that controls when he goes through functions like breathing, bleeding, sweating, and shaking.

Lacy Witt, the emergency training specialist at the Corpus Christi Medical Center, is able to control the computer and said it is helping not only firefighters and paramedics, but the overall public as well.

“That helps these firefighters to be able to take the training that they receive here and pass it on to the general public and make them better providers,” Witt said.

Kristal Bower, one of the paramedics and firefighters at the Annaville Fire Department, said the training with Charlie made a difference compared to what they went through traditional training.

“What they can give us here, we just can’t hands-on," Bower said. "And when you read it in a text book it’s totally different from having the actual patient in front of you,"

The Annaville Fire Department is hoping to work with Charlie at least twice a year and next month they will be working with a female mannequin that is able to simulate giving birth.

The ambulance is able to travel to other parts of the state and has gone to more than 60 events so far.