SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – Over at Clark State Community College’s Brinkman Educational Center, police had their weapons drawn as first responders dragged the injured away from danger – but the wounds and guns are all fake and there is no real gunman; it’s all a simulation training.
First responders from across the Miami Valley were in Springfield, Thursday, for a mass casualty training exercise.
The simulation’s coordinator David Gerstner said the drill allows first responders to test their skills and plans for a real active shooter situation.
“We look at what happened in Orlando or what happened at Las Vegas, or what happened in Parkland,” hs said. “What can we do to be better prepared if something exactly the same were to happen, here.”
Fake shell casings lined the ground as dozens of actors posting as victims, called for help.
“Not just walk through it, not just go through the motions,” Gerstner said. “We don’t want people to say, ‘Well, I would put a tourniquet on this person.’ No, we want people to put a tourniquet on. To actually have to do that to practice the skills that you need to respond to this.”
The pretend victims were taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center so healthcare professionals there could test how well they respond to a mass casualty event.
There, first responder wheeled dozens of people into the ER as doctors and nurses rushed to check on the pretend injuries and prepare procedures.
“If you don’t drill, you don’t know what you’re doing right and you don’t know where your opportunities for improvement lie,” Mercy Health communications lead Nanette Bentley said.
“We’d rather learn now than when the actual situation is taking place to make sure we have the resources, the team, the staff in place to be able to cope with anything that comes our way, including a mass casualty.”
The actors were made up with a variety of injuries, ranging from minor lacerations to traumatic wounds.
“Obviously this is a simulation so they’re not actually injured patients but we’ve had more than twenty come through in a range of conditions from walk-ins, walking wounded, through to casualties and people in critical condition who need to be rushed to surgery,” Bentley said.
Law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and dispatch centers across the Miami Valley participated in the drill. All getting a chance to test out their active shooter response plan.
“Everybody’s got plans,” Gerstner said. “You don’t know where the plans will fail, until you had a chance to try them out.”
Bentley added; “It could happen anywhere and that is why we want to be prepared and we welcome the opportunity to be part of this drill.”
Once the training is over, officials will look at what went well and what they need to work on.