Local hospitals test preparedness with 200 actors in mass casualty drill
The East Grand Division Healthcare Coalition held one of the largest hospital exercises in Tennessee Wednesday morning. The emergency drill required almost 1000 victim actors spread across 56 hospitals, including eight in Chattanooga.
The goal was to test hospitals and their ability to take in large amounts of patients on short notice. The Full Scale Exercise (FSE) would reveal effective response plans, policies and procedures as they pertain to disaster events.
The Scenario: A bomb goes off in Knoxville's Neyland Stadium during a football game one Saturday afternoon. Thousands of people are hurt and many of them have to be transported to area hospitals including those in Chattanooga like Erlanger, Parkridge, Memorial and Kindred.
Channel 3 was at Parkridge for the drill as participants got make-up for added effect. From cuts and fractured to bruises and blood, every actor had a part to play and an injury to act out.
"I got knocked down in the blast and landed on my knees," said Volunteer Jerry Johnson.
Johnson was in the make-up chair for scraped up knees. Others have it worse.
"It's kinda freaky seeing what happened to some of the other people," he said.
Freaky, he said, because he's seen this before when watching the Boston Marathon bombing on TV.
"It kinda reminded me of the Boston Marathon," he said. "Of course, when you see something like that on TV you don't imagine you being in something like that."
And that's why he and 215 other victim actors volunteered today to help hospitals learn from the Knoxville scenario.
Tony Sylvester at Parkridge said this is the largest drill they've held in the five years.