Mass casualty drill prepares first responders

ANNISTON, Al (WIAT) — From tornadoes to terrorist attacks, first responders have to be ready for whatever comes their way. Just this morning crews from Baltimore got a crash course in how to handle a mass casualty event at the Center for Domestic Preparedness in Anniston.

“So we’re going to start an IV,” says one medic attempting to give aid to a child size actor.

And that is something that is never easy to see – young children on stretchers or bodies strewn about. But this shocking scene is actually preparing these emergency crews for what they might encounter should disaster strike.

“We have built our city capacity here to include all types of hazards that communities will have to deal with,” says Bernice Zaidel director of curriculum for the Center of Domestic Preparedness. “And the subway explosion and incident is a good example of what many communities will have to face.”

Currently its teams from Baltimore getting this dose of mass casualty training. And it’s everyone from first responders to hospital staff who are involved in the exercise.

“I would like to get as many of my staff as I can to train down here and get the experience because I don’t think you can truly appreciate it until you go through something like this,” says ER Nurse Marcia Hora. “It makes it real life.”

And reality is what this exercise is attempting to achieve. To put everyone’s skills to the test before they’re needed.

“Sometimes you just start going and acting and reacting,” says Northwest Hospital administrator Ericka Gray Wylie. “Sometimes you need to say hey every three hours we’re going to check back in because even if a situation is going on you need to debrief.”

And debrief they do because at the end of the day this is just the first group in the nation to get this key training. The first, organizers hope, of many to come so that lives can and will be saved.

Although the crew that trained this week at the Center for Domestic Preparedness was from Baltimore. The Anniston facility has trained many of our local and state first responders to handle emergency situations.

Copyright 2014 WIAT CBS 42

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