Experience as a mock casualty in a full scale exercise

Last Friday, our class participated in a full-scale exercise for our city’s local airport. The exercise was designed by one of the groups in our class and involved a full-scale response by police, fire, and EMS, and a functional activation of the airport and city EOCs.

It was loads of fun. On the morning of the exercise, half of us arrived at the airport at the ungodly hour of 6:30AM in order to prep the victims/casualties. Thanks to the casualty simulation course we participated in a few months ago, we created some pretty realistic injuries, including shock, 3rd degree burns, and a broken femur.

I got to play a victim in shock. I was so annoying! When the responders first arrived, I kept telling them I knew first aid and could help. I was speaking really quickly and breathing kind of heavily and kept saying “Oh my god, oh my god…is that guy dead? IS HE DEAD?” It was so much fun. I also would bother them by telling them really loudly that my friend was pregnant. “You need to come over here, she’s pregnant, she needs help! Oh my god, oh my god, the plane crashed–is that guy DEAD?!”

I used some of my experiences from rounds on Res to help me out. Whenever we respond to a first aid incident, it’s funny how all of the residents want to help, to the point of getting angry at us when we tell them to back-up. “He’s MY friend, you don’t know him, you don’t even know what you’re talking about!” –I get that a lot. I’ve always found the best thing to do in that situation is give the onlookers something to do, so they feel useful.

We (some of the casualties) would also wander off if the responders weren’t paying attention to us. I wandered right back into the “plane crash” once and got yelled at.

At one point, when someone made me sit down with a blanket, I went really silent, staring at the ground and not responding to people talking to me. It was funny how much the fake “freaking out” ended up taking out of me. Pretending to hyperventilate actually made me quite light-headed, so I was happy to sit and not do anything for a few minutes!

Eventually we were taken by ambulance back to the hangar, where we cleaned off our make-up and did a quick hot-wash with the airport personnel. Overall, the exercise was a big success. It was our first experience with a full-scale exercise, but I’d love to have a part in planning one again. I’d also like to see what it would be like watching the exercise, rather than running around freaking out!

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