TUPELO, MISS. (WCBI) – For the training exercise, the floor of the Bancorpsouth Arena becomes ground zero for a terror attack.
“The scenario today, is basically a football game where someone has set off a bomb,” said Joe Holley, of Memphis based Paragon Medical Education Group.
Medical students , who are volunteering as wounded crowd members, get a quick briefing.
Then the first of two simulated explosions rock the arena.
Members of Paragon Medical Education Group set up and monitor the exercise as it is playing out.
“A lot of this has to do with simply a recognition of what kind of things , and what sort of chaos might be going on in a situation like that, since disasters and things like this are relatively uncommon, and for a lot of people they might encounter something like this once in a career,” Holley said.
Still, being prepared is crucial. There’s even a decontamination area manned by Tupelo Firefighters, in case the explosives have some sort of chemical or biological weapon.
Medical professionals assessed the wounded, got them through the decon area, then on to a makeshift triage spot, where priority was given to those with more serious injuries.
Students and trauma professionals say the exercise was beneficial.
“It will help me to stay calm, since I’ve kind of been through it, but not exactly, but I have an idea at least,” said EMCC student Erin Miller.
“These types of situations, exercises and drills, are the best tool we have, so that, God forbid if the worst were to happen we have that to fall back on and say this is really happening and thanks to these exercises I know what I need to do,” said Beth Hollings, of NMMC in Pontotoc.
“I think it made me more aware, I had more hands on with the patient so I was able to take them to contamination and actually re assess them when we got to triage,” said Amy Richardson, who works at BMH in Columbus.
The exercise was loosely based on the terror attacks at the Boston Marathon .
This is the fourth year participants at the conference have taken part in a simulated disaster drill.