Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mass Causualty Incident **DRILL**

This past Monday 22 volunteers, most from Eatonville and Puyallup High School, got the rare opportunity to play the role of a "patient" in a Mass Casualty Incident training exercises staged at Mt Rainier's Education Center.

Many months of detailed planning went into developing a 5 car pile up scenario, which was kept a secret to preserve its authenticity. Each patient had detailed "cue cards" listing their injuries and vitals. Nearly all the volunteers had their bruises and injuries painted on their skin and clothes. In total, approximately 50 respondents from Mt. Rainier Park Service, Eatonville Fire Department, and Pierce Country Fire and Rescue participated in the two hour drill aimed at identifying deficiencies in a safe and controlled environment.

The result was an impressive display of force. The respondents split into teams to pull the patients safely out of the cars, sometimes cutting away doors, with a calm sense of urgency. One EMT with NPS, Corey Connor described it as, "turning total chaos into organized chaos. There are many levels of organization taking place at the scene and everyone is constantly re-evaluating and prioritizing."

As a spectator I was most impressed with the volunteers' dedication to their roles. Although the evening air was cool and the ground wet from a light drizzle the volunteers remained laying on the ground, some on backboards, with their various injuries for well over an hour.

Although an official debriefing will take place in the coming weeks the general feeling by those interviewed was that it was an invaluable learning experience integrating the various departments.

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