Mercy Health is gearing up to host a region-wide conference  to help doctors, nurses and first responders work together to give patients a better chance at survival in the case of a catastrophe.

First responders will be doing hands-on training exercises in simulation labs to get experience dealing with mass casualty events. There are rooms designed to be churches, apartments, office buildings, movie theaters and classrooms. There are even life-like dummies the training participants can get practice treating.

“What this guy does is he lets us practice without harming any real people,” Mercy Health EMS medical director Dr. Jay MacNeal said. “He talks, he cries, he bleeds, he sweats. He gives us heart rhythm, blood pressure and then we can do the necessary medical interventions on him.”

MacNeal said the training helps the community as much as it trains the professionals.

“Well, it's huge for the community because when people call 911, they have the expectation that people are going to show up on time and perform perfectly, and practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect,” he said. “So we focus on perfect practice here, so those people that need us, when we get there, we show up, we do our job perfectly."

The conference is scheduled to be hosted at Mercy Hospital and Trauma Center in Janesville Oct. 28-29. It includes nationally-recognized speakers and local professionals sharing their expertise. The conference is divided into two tracks. One part is specifically designed for nurses and physicians. The other part is geared toward EMTs, first responders, paramedics and law enforcement. The goal of the training is to have EMS, law enforcement and hospitals acting as one.

Registration will stay open until the day of the event. More information can be found on Mercy Health’s website.