NAIT has a new tool to help EMT and paramedic students get ready for calls they could face on the job.

“We can bring the students into the environments, give them a good idea of what they’re getting into before prior to getting onto the street,” said Les Ivan, EMT/paramedic instructor at NAIT.

It’s a reality simulation theatre; the only one of its kind, according to school officials.

“We get to run a lot of scenarios within it,” said Sharda Hariepersaud, EMT student.

“It helps us get that realistic learning experience that we’ll actually experience in the field,” she said.

The theatre has nine projectors which creates a 360-degree image around the room. They can create environments to mimic the River Valley, a busy intersection, even centre ice at Rogers Place.

Another scenario students face is heading to call at a rave.

“I’ve never been in a rave experience, other than in simulation, but the distractions will definitely play a key part in how well you handle the situation because I might get a scenario the room’s going to be packed full of people and you have to work around that,” said Hariepersaud.

In addition to the loud music and flashing lights you’d find at a rave, they bring in actors to play the role of patients and bystanders.

“They say it’s not a good thing to have tunnel vision, but what I do is just tune out what I don’t need to hear. I don’t need to hear the music, I don’t need to be distracted by the lights, I’m there to help a patient and that’s what I focus on,” said Hariepersaud.

To make the scenario even more realistic, the floor of the theatre is sticky like it would be at a rave, there’s even realistic vomit.

“We can introduce smells like feces, urine, it gives the students the opportunity to experience the things that they probably haven’t been exposed to yet but they will be when they start to work,” said Ivan.

“It really helps to get us prepared and it’ll be really beneficial for all students coming through the program,” Hariepersaud added.