Mock Disaster Prepares Emergency Workers

By: Vicky Nguyen
By: Vicky Nguyen

Emergency workers here in Reno are preparing in case disaster strikes at a local nightclub.

There was an emergency drill at St. Mary's hospital Thursday night.

It was a test of team work, skill and readiness and members of the hospital Haz-Mat team say it went off without a hitch.

An hour before the emergency drill starts, make up artists paint their victims. Bruises, cuts, and assorted wounds decorate the ten volunteers who will act as the victims in a simulated nightclub stampede.

At 9:15 the drill started and, like clockwork, teams spring into action!

Central command directs the response . . . Haz-Mat teams set up the decontamination center, and the victims are treated according to their level of trauma.

In this emergency drill, the Haz-Mat team has two main jobs . . . decontaminating four victims who were pepper-sprayed in a nightclub and then treating ten others who were trampled as they ran for the exit.

The drill took about 90 minutes from start to finish. While the emergency was fake, Haz-Mat teams say the response was very real and worked will to get them ready for a disaster that could strike at any time.

These drills also helped the team flesh out any kinks in the system. From the practice run, they can see which areas need improvement, and they write that into the protocol for the real thing.


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