Last week, the Erindale College Special Response Team hosted the annual MIXER event, where multiple Campus Emergency Response Teams were invited to take part in workshops and scenarios scattered around the UTM campus.

The Association of Campus Response Teams is a volunteer-based association which promotes communication and development between existing CERTs in North America. As a part of ACERT’s mandate to encourage unity and leadership, the association hosts two annual conferences: NCCER and MIXER. However, these conferences are hosted by individual CERTs.

When applying to host a conference, proposals need to consider physical resources (such as rooms, catering options, and local leisure activities) and logistics.

“Schools apply to ACERT to host, and they choose the best host,” explains Meadow Libby, a fourth-year forensic anthropology specialist and psychology minor. “This year, we were chosen. This is the first time ECSpeRT has ever hosted a conference.”

Incidentally, this is also the first time that ECSpeRT has ever applied to host an ACERT event.

“It’s a ton of planning before you even get confirmed as a host,” says Libby.

This year, the MIXER theme was “Project X,” inspired by real-life incidents that occurred during a party in Australia.

“We wanted to keep the theme to something that was applicable to what campus response teams do. There’s been themes in the past. The last MIXER had a mass casualty scenario with a plane crash. There’s been zombie apocalypse themes. But we wanted to do something that was really applicable,” says Libby. “All universities have residences, and all residences have parties. Substance abuse, sexual assault, and mental health emergencies are all things that we would frequently encounter in our age group, and the most popular demographic that we deal with are university-age students.”

According to Libby, 12 different campus response teams attended the MIXER event, with an approximate total of 150 participants.

This year’s MIXER event involved several workshops, such as “Embracing the inner zombies of your response team,” facilitated by Augusto da Silva, a former member of the St. John Ambulance organization, “Toke, Toke, Pass: Party Drugs and the First Responder,” facilitated by Mike Thomas, which focused on drugs and the resulting symptoms that are likely to be encountered by campus responders, and “Sleeping like a rock: the undifferentiated patient,” facilitated by Jeff Bilyk, a Full-time Land and Casual Flight Paramedic in Southwest Ontario. The event also included a banquet, the Annual General Meeting, 14 different scenarios (including a mass casualty scenario), and a competition.

On Sunday, one of the mass casualty scenarios involved a party gone horribly wrong. The party-goers had injuries such as bruises, open wounds, and slit wrists. The extreme cases involved individuals with severed hands and a young lady who had just gone into labour. Campus response teams then entered the scenario and were judged on the basis of their responses. Based on the teams’ responses in various scenarios, the CERTs were judged in an overall competition.

“What makes MIXER unique from NCCER is that you sign up with your campus response team. But we actually mix everybody up into teams,” says Libby.

“So you can meet people from all different schools, and learn how they respond and their level of training, and the different ways they run their team.”