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Medical Training Mass Casualty Drill



Hey! Just a friendly heads up that this article is about an issue that may be sensitive to some people. This article is in no means intended to be harmful for the reader. While there’s nothing extravagant, this article contains information about a mass shooting for medical training purposes, so that our first responders can do everything they can to keep us safe.  Please continue at your discretion.

Each year, John Carroll hosts a Mass Casualty Incident drill. JCU Emergency Medical Services (EMS) partners with JCU PD and University Heights Fire Department (UHFD)  to make this event as real as possible. If you happened to be near the Grasselli Library this past Sunday morning, you may have witnessed this drill in action. Approximately 30 students volunteered their morning to help make this event successful. This year, the situation involved a (gunman/shooter), who was portrayed to have open fire on individuals who were in the ground floor of the library. Special effects makeup was used to make the injuries look as real as possible. Many injuries include gunshot wounds to the head, neck, legs and abdomen. Each volunteer was given an index card with two sides of information. One side included patient information to give the person an idea of how to act; this side was not seen or known to the emergency responders. Information included what the injury was, where the injury was sustained, and in some cases, what to do if one was not treated in a certain amount of time. The other side of the index card had vital information that was to be seen by the responders. Information included, but was not limited to, heart rate, respirations, and an abbreviation of alert and orientation (A/Ox0).


The event was staged with the students scattered throughout the ground floor of the library, incorporating students from library patrol as the reporters of the situation. Students were asked to be as realistic as possible with their reactions and injuries.


Part of the protocol that EMS follows includes neutralizing the threat, and taking the appropriate steps to entering the building in order to triage and care for victims. Those who were able to respond to voices or walk were taken away from the scene into a green triage area. In these situations those who are injured are moved away from the threat, in the event it has yet to be neutralized. First responders then searched the ground floor of the library for victims, and determined if they were yellow, red, or black based on certain vitals. Yellow indicated non-life-threatening injuries, red indicated life-threatening injuries, and black indicated death.   While our information was on an index card, in a real situation, first responders are trained to look for certain vitals to determine how to further treat the individual. In a real situation, these vitals can be found quickly, and are not time consuming in order to treat the maximum amount of people. Once again, these vitals included heart rate, respirations and alertness/orientation.


After the individuals were triaged appropriately, all the volunteers reconvened for a discussion. This discussion was led by JCU EMS and also incorporated JCU PD and UHFD. People discussed strengths and weaknesses of the drill, mainly to further the training of the first responders. One of the discussion points was response time, which appeared to not be as quick. From the standpoint of a volunteer, you really never know how long it will take to be found or cared for, as the situation needs to be assessed in a safe manner, in order to prevent more injuries or casualties. Yes this event was early, but it was informative to everyone who participated to have a further understanding of what would happen if this unlikely situation were to ever occur.


For this drill, the person who portrayed the shooter used an unarmed weapon, and did not directly shoot any of the student volunteers. No sound effects were used to protect the mental health and safety of those who were involved. All wounds were created with special effects makeup made with liquid latex, foundation, and spray blood. This scenario was created to be as real as possible for the first responders to gain as much experience and training as possible, especially after all the unfortunate recent mass casualty events involving a situation of this nature. The next time you see JCU EMS, JCU PD, and even UHFD, keep in mind that they are doing everything they can to keep up to date with the latest and greatest safety protocols, to make this campus as safe as it can be.

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