Emergency Medical Services personnel secure a mock patient to a back-board for transport to the ambulance during emergency preparedness drills in Minerva.
A violent thunderstorm has just passed through town. Trees and power lines are down on Healy Road and the Minerva Volunteer Fire Department & Rescue Squad has been dispatched to the scene because of burning trees and arcing lines. National Grid has been notified. It’s learned that a bunch of kids have been camping and partying near Healy Road.
Upon the fire department’s arrival on the scene, it’s discovered that several kids have various injuries, some serious. Minerva Emergency Medical Services has been dispatched, and additional ambulances arrive following a call for mutual aid.
It’s discovered that three campers have wandered away into the woods and are now lost. A canine search and rescue unit has been contacted and arrives at the scene. One of the lost campers has a fractured arm, badly sprained ankle, and possible neck injury. The Minerva Town Supervisor begins the intense process of coordinating the complicated effort to handle this emergency.
Did all this happen in Minerva on Sunday, July 17, at around 1 p.m.? It did indeed, but it was a drill, not the real deal. With extensive planning and plenty of participation from many people in the area, the Minerva Emergency Preparedness Committee held a drill that covered an emergency that could have occurred in the Town. The organizers used the established Incident Command System to respond quickly and effectively to a potential serious emergency.
A total of 37 people participated in this emergency preparedness effort that afternoon. There were partygoers, emergency shelter attendants, a worried mother, firefighters, EMTs and other medical personnel, lost campers, a parking coordinator, command post personnel, canine rescue coordinators, Cash the dog, phone monitors, and vehicle drivers. In short, it was a concerted effort that worked well. There were a few glitches, but identifying these later will make an actual emergency (or drill) progress more smoothly.
“We were really pleased with the drill,”Town Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey said. “It’s the first time in a long time a town drill like this was attempted, and we really had plenty of participants. We’ll put what we learned to good use in a real emergency.”
Following the drill, a potluck dinner was available at the Minerva Town Hall for all participants. A sort of debriefing about what things went well and what things needed improvement was held, with plenty of ideas put forth.
The Minerva Emergency Preparedness Committee (in particular Chairperson Patty Warrington, Mark Sullivan, Kathy Halloran, Nancy Shaw, Betty LeMay and Sue Montgomery Corey) would like to thank town employees, emergency response personnel, citizen volunteer groups and all participants in a collaborative effort that worked in a mostly seamless way.