Mass casualty drill prepares local first responders, nursing students for emergencies

Local News

HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s not often that mass casualties occur in our community, but it’s always beneficial to be prepared for them. On Saturday, the Eagle Joint Fire District in Hubbard held a mass casualty drill.

Local fire trucks and ambulances gathered in Harding Park for the drill. Nursing students from Kent State Trumbull and Youngstown State University took part.

“We all have to be prepared. The hospitals have to have mandatory trainings every year now,” said Mike Kerr, a simulation coordinator from Mercy Health.

This mass casualty drill dealt with hazardous materials, and local nursing students got to experience what it’s like to be a victim in one of those scenarios.

Students acted like they just experienced an inhalant spill.

“Our symptoms of burning skin and difficulty breathing, our eyes are burning,” said Rachel Steadman, a Kent State nursing student.

After the fake spill, first responders arrived. They then started the decontamination process, using fire trucks for a shower and actual Hazmat suits for the students to wear. They were then taken to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngstown for their portion of the drill.

“Even though deconned at the scene, we do a secondary decon when they get here to the hospital just to make sure that they’re safe inside,” said Chief Ryan Bonacci, with Mercy Health Youngstown.

Students were then checked by a doctor for their current symptoms before being released.

Many of them found this drill important to their education.

“Whenever we do become nurses, we’re going to know like exactly what we need to, protocol, like who we need to call,” said Kaylyn Rounds, a YSU nursing student.

“This is potentially something that we could come across as a nurse, as an RN. It’s interesting to see how they handle the situation when there’s an emergency like this,” Steadman said.

The drill was a great opportunity for local first responders to work together.

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