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Mock emergency should make us all feel a little safer

From the Editor's Notebook

September 21, 2009
by Chuck Hunt, Register Editor
If you were in Blue Earth on Wednesday night – or Winnebago for that matter – you probably heard some sirens, or saw an ambulance or fire truck roaring past with their lights blazing.

You probably wondered what the commotion was all about.

There was an accident a mile or so northwest of Blue Earth. It seems two cars collided head-on, on a minimum maintenance farm road.

There were four people in each car. One of the vehicles wound up upside down in the ditch. Two of its passengers were thrown from the car.

One was a very pregnant woman. Two passengers, a man and a woman, were flung far from the car. The man was seriously injured, and unconscious.

The four people in the other car were all hurt pretty bad as well, but remained inside the vehicle. Three of them were wearing seat belts, one was not.

When the fire trucks and the ambulances arrived, emergency personnel went right to work. Some got out equipment. Some were in charge and assessing the situation, barking out orders.

One was in charge of seeing how many victims there were, and how badly they were hurt.

Besides the two United Hospital District ambulances coming out of Blue Earth, he called for the ambulance from Winnebago to come.

After all, there were eight victims, and all were seriously injured.

That person also called for the Mayo One medical emergency helicopter to come – and it did, landing right on the narrow road, raising a cloud of dust and debris. The firemen covered the victims with blankets to protect them from the flying dirt.

The Jaws of Life came out, and firemen cut the roof off the one car, and jacked up the other. They cut the battery cables to prevent fires.

The victims were stabilized, with neck braces, and put on back boards. One by one they were carted off to the ambulances, and into Mayo One, for trips to the hospital.

It all looked, sounded and felt real.

But it was all fake. From the car accident itself, to the victims, to the blood. All fake.

The Blue Earth Fire Department and UHD and Winnebago Ambulance squads were holding a mock accident drill.

But there was not much that was mock about it. The victims screamed and moaned and groaned. Or just laid there unconscious.

The EMTs and firemen were deadly serious, and worked fast and furiously to save the victims, as though the injuries were real.

The only thing that gave it all away were the four men walking around with clipboards taking notes like crazy. They were assessing each emergency personnel to see what they did, how fast, and if it was the correct thing to do.

They were grading the workers.

Later, they will write up what they saw, and suggest ways it could have been done better.

That should make each one of us feel a little bit better. Just knowing that these dedicated people are willing to give up an evening (and a beautiful one it was) to practice their emergency response techniques, is commendable.

We are lucky to have a well-trained ambulance and fire department in Blue Earth and the rest of Faribault County.

And well trained they are. On Wednesday night they demonstrated just what they can do in an emergency situation.

Sure, it was a mock drill. But that is how they train. And this mock drill was for all intents and purposes, as real as it could be.

The only other give-away that it was not the real thing was the crazy Register photographer, running around getting close-ups of all the action.

In a real emergency, I usually stay back and try my hardest to keep out of the emergency workers’ way.

It felt so real on Wednesday that I kept back most of the time to avoid being yelled at. I kept forgetting this wasn’t the real thing.

It was obvious I wasn’t the only one. Everyone was working as though it was real.

Sure felt like it.
 
 

 

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