LOWVILLE The explosion was as fake as the painted-on blood, but the experience emergency responders gained from Thursdays disaster drill was real.
This is a great opportunity for emergency responders and hospital personnel to gain valuable training so they are better prepared should a real emergency occur, said Christina L. Flint, director of marketing and public relations at Lewis County General Hospital.
The setting for the mock disaster was Climax Manufacturing Co., where students in the New Visions program at the Howard G. Sackett Technical Center in Glenfield volunteered as victims.
Joseph S. Tolley, safety environmental coordinator at Climax, also serves on the Emergency Planning Committee. Original plans would have evacuated the building of all employees for the drill, but the weather did not cooperate. Instead, a large work area was sectioned off and workers were kept inside.
The students arrived early to go over their roles. With the use of makeup and fake wounds and blood, they were transformed to look like victims of an explosion.
The scenario had the students at the location for a field trip. One student, played by Kasey Rivers, brought an explosive device with him and detonated it in a battery storage area.
Emergency responders treated the scenario as realistically as possible, responding to the fire scene, donning gear for a hazardous materials incident and decontaminating the victims and taking them to Lewis County General Hospital.
Hospital staff practiced decontamination skills on the victims, then sent them through triage and on to the appropriate area for care of their injuries.
At the conclusion of the exercise, participants were debriefed with immediate feedback about the handling of the emergency. Dale F. Barker, director of emergency preparedness at Lewis County General Hospital, said a full report will be available in about a week.