SPC Tigers Star at San Antonio Mass Casualty Exercise and Evaluation 2018

October 18, 2018

Public Information Officer


Students volunteered to learn their professions while improving processes that keep people in the nation’s seventh largest city safe

St. Philip’s College health sciences students and four of their faculty members celebrated their tenth anniversary as participants in the most important mass casualty exercise in the city. The drills with an active shooter theme and a participatory boost from St. Philip’s College occurred Oct. 11 with students giving back and learning through serving at such locations as Freeman Coliseum, Heroes Stadium and Blossom Athletic Center for the San Antonio Mass Casualty Exercise and Evaluation 18 exercise. 

When more than 300 St. Philip’s College Health Sciences students and faculty members participated in the San Antonio Mass Casualty Exercise and Evaluation in 2008 at the San Antonio International Airport and more than 20 area hospitals, the college provided more than half the volunteers for that program critical for testing and validating elements of the emergency trauma response capabilities in the nation’s seventh largest city. The 2008 event was part of the accreditation process for area hospitals, and was a community engagement debut for St. Philip’s College since the institution had never participated in nor been invited to support this significant training event.

It’s fair to say that St. Philip’s College students have been among the largest source of drill participants at times since 2008, and in addition to faculty leading as planner-practitioners, in 2018 the 700 volunteers who acted as victims, friends and family members during the exercise organized by the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council included 52 students from the college’s 70 year-old nursing program. The council is responsible under Texas law for planning and coordinating emergency care in the trauma region that includes the St. Philip’s College service area and 22 counties in South Texas.

Barbara Govan is a nursing instructor within the college's Vocational Nursing program who was one of four faculty onsite for the 120-year-old college’s tenth anniversary exercise event.

“Our tenth anniversary team was present at Freeman Coliseum from 6 a.m. - 3 p.m., and students were assigned different victim or family roles by the council team,” said Govan. “The victims were moulaged according their injuries---laceration, abrasions, bruising and gunshot wound---all at night prior to the start of the exercise,” Govan said. “Students were transported to different citywide hospitals via bus and ambulance to receive treatment after the active shooting,” said Govan.

Health sciences department employees identified the student volunteers for this civic event that tests and validates elements of the city’s emergency trauma response capabilities about once every 36 months. In 2011, health sciences students learned while performing community service and participating in recruitment interviews at local hospitals during the exercise, where they learned of jobs in the industries they wish to be employed in. College faculty members coordinated the college’s 2011 and 2018 participation as members of the Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council team.

In a ten-year-old traditional element of the St. Philip’s College experience, students report to an exercise headquarters, and very few at the college actually know of the activity. At the headquarters, nearly all are assigned roles requiring an application of realistic makeup to simulate complex wounds or blood in an advanced medical research environment. Once made up at approximately sunrise, all of the students served as patients with the exact simulated injury, trauma signs and symptoms which medical teams were expected to service at a bevy of participating area hospitals. While the 2018 exercise scenario involved active shooter, the 2011 scenario involved a bus accident and aircraft crash trauma victims being treated citywide. 

All are welcome to talk with students and faculty about the 10-year exercise experience during the 2018 San Antonio and New Braunfels-Seguin area recruitment season for St. Philip’s College’s free open house and information sessions on Oct. 16. With two open houses available, the public can choose the location closest to their home and their career plan.

The open house for the college’s Licensed Vocational Nursing, Level 2 Certificate, and Nursing: Career Mobility-LVN to RN, A.A.S./Military to RN, A.A.S. programs in San Antonio begins at 5:30 p.m. in Rooms 221 and 226 of the college’s Center for Health Professions building at 1801 Martin Luther King Drive. The college’s San Antonio open house session details are available online.

The open house for the college’s Licensed Vocational Nursing Program in New Braunfels begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Central Texas Technology Center building at 2189 F.M. 758. The college’s New Braunfels open house session details are available online.

Visitors can prepare for their open house experience by viewing certificate program details online and visiting the campuses in advance. For details, reach out to the following contacts:

  • 2018 SPC SAN ANTONIO SESSION CONTACT: Veronica Furlow | Vocational Nursing Program Coordinator | 210-486-2724 | abailey@alamo.edu
  • 2018 SPC NEW BRAUNFELS-SEGUIN SESSION CONTACT: Annette Bailey | Vocational Nursing Program Coordinator | 210-486-2724 | abailey@alamo.edu
  • SPC NURSING EDUCATION DEPARTMENT CONTACT: Dr. Rhonda Webb | Department Chair | 210-486-2158 | rray5@alamo.edu

See the exercise at the Oct. 11 KSAT report 700 people participate in mass casualty training exercise. (Archival 2008 images courtesy SPC)