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2003 Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems Disaster Drill

Event Date: June 29, 2003
Event Start: 7:00am
Event End: Around 1:00pm
Location: Regional Drill
Event Operations: Disaster Victims

Event Report
Our team volunteered to become victims in the state's Emergency Medical Services Drill. The drill was intended to test all of the available medical services in a given area that could be affected by any major disaster. Our team specifically was triaged at Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department, located in Baltimore County.

There, our team received fake wounds, blood and a tag to indicate our injuires. From there, each EMT or other medical personel triaged our members as well as other volunteers who where victims in the drill. After being triaged, volunteers were split up by the most and least critical. The most critical injuries were sent to nearby St Agnes Hospital, while least critical were sent to other hospitals with distance according to injury.

Unit 614 was sent to Sinai Hospital as he had moderate injuries, while units 621 and 687 were send further away to North Arundel Hospital.

Upon arriving at the hospitals, some of the volunteers in the drill were asked to become either hysterical and disoriented while others maintained somewhat of a calm attitude. These problems helped medical personel learn how to deal with troublesome victims should a disaster actually arise.

All in all, after the drill was over, everyone had fun and it was a great learning experience.

A very special thanks to all of the volunteers who took time out of their busy schedules to make this drill possible. For if not for them, all could be lost one day.

When Volunteers Become Victims by Daniel O'Keefe, Howard County REACT Unit 614

0700 hours…
It was a beautiful June morning in Columbia Maryland.  Some People were walking their dogs through the park and others were setting up a group picnic.  Howard County REACT Volunteers were setting up for the day’s special event.  No one could imagine what lied ahead in the passing hours in this pristine residential park.

0830 hours…
An explosion rocks the park followed by a large orange cloud from a nearby building.  Confusion follows as people grasp for air and tend to their wounds. The next thing I remember is being transported by bus to Sinai Hospital, with 27 other victims of the explosion, which at this point is still unexplained.

As we pull up to the emergency room we are greeted by a Nurse and a Security Guard who immediately collapse. 

I am dizzy but I can make out my injuries.  I have a laceration
on my left Arm and my knee is sore.  I cannot feel my left foot. 
I look around and see a man and women with chemical burns on
their bodies.
After a cat scan it was determined that I was suffering from an
inter-cranial hemorrhage as well.  It was off to the operating
room and STAT.

It sounds like another episode of ER, but in fact it is a statewide
exercise that measures the ability of area hospitals to handle a
mass casualty.

Howard County REACT members volunteered for the exercise along with several hundred others to be made up in Mulauge (make-up) with anything from skin abrasions to major chemical burns.  Some participants even had roles to play such as the hysterical patient who did not let the nurses at Sinai Hospital within 5 feet of her.  Even others took the exercise into their own hands like one volunteer who felt he had waited too long to be triaged and died on a gurney at the decontamination center.  Of course like any exercise or cartoon for that matter, he lives to die another day, when Maryland tests the limits of their Emergency Medical Services.

This Exercise is another example of how REACT teams are going beyond communications to assist their communities. Howard County REACT Assist takes pride in our ability to be flexible and assist in any way we can to make our communities a safer place to live.  Sometimes that means taking off our responder hats and putting on our fake wounds.

Unit 614 and 621 pose for a picture of their injuries.
The front of Arbutus Volunteer Fire Department, Baltimore County as victums are loaded on an MTA headed for Sinai Hospital.
Victim shows off you injuries with the triage area behind her. Used with permission.
Volunteer at North Arundel Hospital, Anna Arundel County, going through the DECON (decontamination) process. Used with permission.