Friday, April 24, 2009

Disaster Report(s)

Dear people who read this blog:

Personally, I think you're in for a treat. On Monday, Shake Rattle & Roll came to fruition. Months of planning were rewarded with some fun, some frustration, and some lessons learned. I now have the task of analyzing all the data reported throughout the exercise which corresponds roughly to a a stack of papers 5 inches high.

In lieu of that report, I thought I'd post a bunch of really great photos, and some video from the news agencies, if I can get it to work.

If you become easily queasy, I warn you that the fake wounds posted hereafter are fake, yes, but definitely woundlike.

Our volunteers check-in and get wounded. We had about 100 victims.

Here our Public Information Officers, ummm, talk about information stuff. They were tasked with the inevitable but unwieldy responsibility of reigning in the real media.

This tent (and SUV) housed our Incident Command.

You can see our Incident Commander wearing a white vest, standing by the SUV. He looks very little there in the background. But he led the whole response coordination.

Utah County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (UCARES) provided radio shadows to all our leadership positions. In this photo you can see one of the radio towers they set up. This was their headquarters.

The Red Cross provided a real first aid & lost child pavilion for actual real-world incidents. To my knowledge, it was not used. Safety was an objective we wrote into the initial plan, and in that we were successful. Except that almost everyone got sunburned.

The LDS church provided two meeting houses, one for moulage and one for Red Cross sheltering. In a real emergency, it is better to use schools because they have both a cafeteria and showers. The Red Cross did a great job with everything they touched.

Leondard, the man in the cowboy hat, ran the Red Cross side of things. They provided sheltering, trauma counseling, first aid, crisis child care, and a hot meal for everyone after the exercise.

Here is the Red Cross check-in area. The people in blue vests are volunteers with the Medical Reserve Corps. That is the agency of which I'm a part and which led the planning effort for this drill. Myself, Amy, and Jan from the MRC headed this project from the ground level. We are not in this picture.

The Red Cross works in tandem with the Southern Baptist Disaster Relief group. The food was donated by the LDS church, cooked by the Southern Baptists in this trailer, and distributed through the Red Cross. Everyone did a great job.

Here are some of the Southern Baptist volunteers. It was interesting to see all the various colored vests, tags, and shirts representing the different positions and agencies. My 18 evaluators wore maroon vests.

Here is the Utah Valley Metro Special Response Team preparing for HAZMAT decontamination. I heard one of the SRT members say, "If you see anyone walking around who looks like they're a Marriott employee, those are the evaluators."

More SRT photos. As expected, they played their part extremely professionally.

Captain Edwards, in the red, was our SRT planning liaison.

These people had the experience of being decontaminated with a fire hose. I heard it was somewhat unpleasant.

This was the decon corridor set up and run at the hospital. There were close to 50 people who went through decon at the two sites.

Amy, our exercise director and my co-planner, helps someone don their personal protective equipment.

Here are the hospital decon victims. The Utah Transit Authority provided a UTA bus to help us move people between sites. We were quite grateful for their help.

I'm not sure who put this up, but it was a good idea.

Begin section titled "Blood & Stuff."

Our 50 earthquake victims were positioned throughout an apartment complex. They were wondrous noisy as they cried out in "pain" from around the grounds.

CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) came together to practice what they have been trained to do. CERTs have the largest variability within their agency. For many CERT members, this was their first drill. Some were trained within the last year; others haven't touched their training in 5 years.

I wrote all the parts for the earthquake victims. I had to include this photo because this victim was playing the part of a Hirschsprung's patient in shock and needing water. If you listen for it in the video, you will see the CERT member saying, "She has this... *pause* ... disease." He couldn't pronounce Hirschsprung's - tee hee!

The lady on the left gets total props for acting like a spaz during this drill. Her part was to speak only Spanish and weep and wail searching for a lost family member (who was also told only to speak in Spanish.) She's clasping the hand of her "sister," finally reunited. The man on the right acted as translator.

A little person, bound up and comforted with a great little person blanket.

Here is one of our three pregnant victims who all gave birth to Cabbage Patch dolls at the hospital.

Do you see the girl on the right in blue? She played a fake doctor prescribing prescription medications so she could steal them. No one ever checked her credentials. By the time they figured it out, she was inside the hospital taking stuff off of shelves. When they attempted to escort her out, she threw herself in a rage on the floor. Four men had to pick her up and handcuff her to a gurney.

Now how cool is that?

Here is one of our non-ambulatory victims going through decon. All chemical spill victims were told to wear bathing suits and no jewelry, as all personal items were removed and bagged prior to decon.

This lady was awesome. And by lady, I mean the one in PPE on the left. She actually attempted to keep Fox 13 News cameras out of the hot zone. I couldn't tell who was going to hit whom first.

After decon, in the tent getting dry and ... warm?

A few lucky people got to ride in an ambulance. From experience, I think it's more fun to ride in an ambulance when it is NOT a real emergency. I've done both.

As mentioned above, the Red Cross provided everyone with a meal post-exercise. I can see why this is so important in a real disaster. I thought it was thoroughly soothing to eat even after a fake disaster.

The meals were cooked in the Southern Baptist trailer then distributed, pre-packed, from this Red Cross van.

While you may have just said, "Ewww," in actuality, this was a nice tasty filling and wholesome lunch: corn, beef stroganoff over noodles, peaches/pears, water bottles, and a cookie or cupcake.

Ah yes. And the debriefing.

This room was too small to hold all the key players (the debriefing does not include most agency employees or any victims) so a few folks spilled out into the hall, couldn't hear, and then went home.

I led the pre-exercise brief and the post-exercise debrief. They both went well. One of my evaluators from the Department of Homeland Security said it was one of the best briefings he'd attended in his 20 years. I broke down in tears at the compliment. Ok. Just kidding.

There I am!

We're all listening to a suggestion from the Incident Commander.

The Daily Herald printed the story on the front page, but since I don't get a newspaper, their website was as best I could post.

Same with the Deseret News. This decon guy is very famous.

There was also a short blip on Fox 13, three times that day.

But what's just as cool is that my web site (
was posted on the right-hand banner.

And two videos, one from the Daily Herald and the other from Deseret News:


Anonymous said...

Oh, Kelly, I am so excited. Excited that the drill was successful and that it was received so well. What an event!!I am also excited to finally see a post about it. So much to see and experience, even from afar. Congratulations, and I wish you well with compiling the evaluations. Your work is not yet done.

Love you,

Heidi said...

And you thought I went crazy with Halloween! Hah! :P

Good job, it looks like it was a success!

Tammy and Alvin said...

Awesome! I just wish I could have been a part of it! So, how close are you to being done with school? Is compiling the evaluations and writing something about it the final step?

Joy said...

That is soooo awesome! Hope that when something like this actually happens that we are prepared.

Lisa Merkley said...

So cool! I remember being a part of something like that at the Mariott Center, probably about 10 years ago. I'm sure MUCH has changed since then! I'll bet it's a relief to have it over.

123 checkoutourfamily said...

I bet it felt nice to see everything come together that you've planned so hard for. It really is such a neat project. Wow, what great planning and very useful for the city.

I'm so excited that you're almost finished. Go Kelly!

HeatherH said...

Sounds like it was a success! CONGRATULATIONS!!

Jacqueline Miller said...

Congrats Kelly! What a huge accomplishement! (And probably a huge relief for you, now that the event is over...)