Mass-casualty drill a success

Students learn how to react in tragic situation

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A shooter on a campus is a nightmare for any school but thanks to a drill Saturday, students at Campbell University are more prepared if they ever have to deal with that horrific situation on their campus.

Students in Campbell’s College of Pharmacy and Health Science along with the Jerry M. Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine have held mass casualty drills in the past in outdoor situations. Last year, the drill depicted a helicopter crashing into Barker-Lane Stadium.

Students — just like last year — didn’t learn until the last minute what this year’s training would entail or that it would be held indoors and in the center of campus.

In previous years, the drill was held on the grounds of the Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine, but in this year’s drill, a “shooter” was loose in Maddox Hall. The mock mass shooting left 61 people complaining of injuries and four “fatalities.”

One of the “fatalities” included the mock shooter, who “took his own life” in the drill. The scenario featured a stampede of students escaping the building.

“We wanted to add a level of complexity this year,” Director of Communications and Marketing for the Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Meredith Blalock said. “We wanted our students to learn how to react in real life emergency situations.”

Campbell University Physician’s Assistant student Deanna Reichert was the student incident planner and commander.

“We brought in elements not previously used during the incident,” Reichert said. “We moved the primary location of the incident to main campus in and behind Maddox Hall, in Saylor Park.”

Reichert said Levine and Smith Halls on the health sciences campus were used as simulated hospitals.

Emergency services vehicles were once again used to transport mock victims.

“We also used private vehicle transportation, which would be an element of a true large-scale casualty event,” Reichert said. “This added complexity not only for our students, but for our community partners such as law enforcement, emergency services and local hospitals.”

Students participating dealt with mock victims of all ages and health conditions, including small children, diabetes patients and a pregnant lady. One of the victims was depicted as having a heart attack caused by the stress of the event.

Students also dealt with mental health issues that would likely be part of a shooting incident.

The victims were spread across three stories, forcing students to deal with another factor, stairs.

“It’s important to make this incident as true to life as possible, so we have people of all ages participate and assign them various medical conditions in addition to what happens to them during the incident,” Reichert said.

“This event incorporates service training and disaster preparedness which will enhance students’ ability to better serve their communities during their professional career,” said Dr. Pete Fenn, director of Professional and Programmatic Development and associate professor of Physician Assistant Practice. “The event also brings together community support, like emergency responders and hospital staff, so students have the opportunity to work with these groups who are crucial elements in a mass casualty incident.”

Blalock noted the participation of Harnett County Sheriff’s deputies.

“They really helped us because they reacted like they would if there was a real shooter,” Blalock said.

Deputies were questioning mock victims being treated about essential information such as the shooters location and his description.

Emergency responders from throughout the county, including the Harnett County Emergency Services office also took part in the drill.

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