Mass Causality Exercise held at Ballard County Schools
Barlow - The Ballard County Office of Emergency Management and the Ballard County School district teamed up on Monday to host a mass causality exercise.
Twenty-five students and one adult volunteered to act as accident victims to help first responders, EMS, and firefighters as they trained for an incident, which would require multiple agencies responding. The volunteers loaded a school bus that had been laid on its side on the grass on Ball Park Road. The mock accident scene included two cars that were set up to look like they had been involved in the accident with the bus. One volunteer acted as a crash victim in one of the cars.
As the training exercise was meant to mimic events that would actually occur at an accident, smoke issued from the bus, and firefighters sprayed water causing some of it to rain down on the volunteers on the bus through broken and open windows.
La Center Fire department, Barlow Fire Department, and Bandana Rural Fire Department participated in the event along with Ballard County Deputies and La Center Deputies, Ballard County Search and Rescue, and EMS. PHI Air Ambulance also participated as it arrived shortly after the commencement of the exercise.
As in an actual accident of this magnitude, the Sheriff’s department was the first to arrive on the scene. They accessed the situation and called in for EMS and firefighters. As EMS and firefighters arrived, volunteers were all evaluated. The volunteers had been given cards that indicated their status prior to the start of the event.
EMS and deputies took the volunteers to triage areas that corresponded to the level at which they were assessed. One volunteer was loaded onto the air vac. Some volunteers were loaded onto a Marshall County Ambulance bus. The bus is an actual school bus that has been put out of commission at the school districted and then retrofitted with emergency equipment to transport several victims at one time. It took approximately 30 minutes to get all of the volunteers off of the bus.
Emergency Management Director Travis Holder said he was pleased with the exercise but said there were a few things they needed to work on. EMS Director Michael Clarke said he was interested in getting a bus ambulance for Ballard County as it would be an enormous asset in the event of an accident of the magnitude of the one simulated on Monday.