Crisis Management Simulation—Learning Important Life Skills

By Peter O’Grady, LCS Teacher

The Crisis Management Simulation has been an integral part of the Grade 12 Outdoor Education experience at Lakefield College School for almost 20 years—teaching teamwork and the building of communication and collaboration skills. Combining amazingly realistic make-up, a story that involves multiple injured persons, an amazing outdoor wooded campus and an often wet and cool late November day, the stage is set for an impactful and meaningful experience.

LCS students use communication and leadership skills to navigate a search and rescue simulation in the woods

Students are asked, in advance of the simulation, to consider and identify their unique strengths and how they align with the type of leader they are. For this particular activity, students are assigned to roles that align with their particular strengths and areas they feel confident with. While wilderness first aid, in general, is part of the experience, in this context, introducing students to this skill area – of identifying and working to personal strengths – is the key. We build on first aid training for the remainder of the year.

The value-add, and why this is such an important part of the student experience, is that the activity provides the “near real” context for students to experience three pillars of our program: leadership, group management and effective communication. There is no better way to test these areas than to provide a scenario that elicits real stress from the participants as they work to problem solve, triage and resolve, as best they can, the Crisis Management Simulation.

Students problem solve and triage the injured persons in the woods during the simulation

We are grateful for our partnership with Lee Chantrel for this activity.  He is currently a paramedic in the Ottawa Valley region and also the founder of Paddler’s Coop in Palmer Rapids and Co-Founder of Outdoor Emergency Medicine.

As well, we are grateful for the Grade 12 students who have volunteered to be the injured persons during the simulation providing participating students with a great simulation and experience of what it is like to work someone who is crying, screaming in pain, or simply being very challenging.  Overall, the experience is an enriching one for our students.  It teaches them about themselves and others and provides an opportunity to practice their skills in a real-world scenario, not to mention a fun and challenging lesson they will not soon forget.