Some future first responders got hands-on training Saturday rescuing people from a warehouse in a mass-casualty disaster drill. EMT students from Community Ambulance learned what it's like to find, rescue, and care for patients should a disaster strike in the valley.
Instructors wanted to make the drill as realistic as possible so students know exactly what to do should a tragedy like the Boston Marathon Bombing happen in Las Vegas.
The drill on Saturday took place in a warehouse made to look like a daycare center where a bomb had just been detonated. Students had to navigate through the smoking building and search for mock patients, then decide how to properly treat them.
Several mock patients, children and adults, died in the drill. Others sustained serious injuries that required treatment on the scene. Some patients like Deborah Brown were rushed to the hospital for treatment.
"When you're laying and you have all this smoke and fog, and you're hoping someone knows that you're there so you can be rescued. It was kind of scary in a way," she said.
Student Favian Klein says this kind of experience is the best way to learn what to expect in a real-life mass casualty situation.
"You can study it in a book all day. You can read it in paper, but to see it first-hand you won't be able to prepare yourself for the real deal," he said. He says saving lives feels like second nature, and after this exercise he feels even more prepared should disaster strike. "It's just first nature, that adrenaline gets going. You want to get in there help these people out," said Klein.
While nobody wants disasters to happen, EMT instructor Dennis Nolan says drills like this are more important now than ever before, especially in light of recent events.
"These events are happening more frequently and when they do happen organization is what saves lives," Nolan said. "It's critical that when these events happen they know what to do."
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