Mock disaster puts emergency personnel to the test


By Barb McKay


Smoke spewed from the cockpit of a small aircraft as it came to rest in the field beside Kincardine airport’s main runway.



Shelbi-Lynne McLelland of Kincardine is carried to safety by South-Bruce OPP Cst. Kevin Martin, left, and deputy fire chief Mike Moore during the MedLINCS mock disaster last Wednesday. (Barb McKay photo)


Beside it were the remnants of a municipal truck, its driver and passenger slumped in their seats.


Scattered around were members of a work crew caught in the middle of the collision. Some are lying motionless on the ground. Some of the lesser injured tried to aid their colleagues. There were cries for help.


Emergency vehicles rushed to the scene after a bystander reported the accident and tried to assess the situation. There were nearly two dozen victims and they must quickly determine who to treat first. There were still people in the smouldering airplane.


This was a mock disaster that was played out last Wednesday behind the Kincardine municipal administration centre. The “victims” were Grey Bruce MedLINCS students from local and area high schools who had the opportunity to experience first hand how emergency responders deal with an emergency situation. The students applied to the program, organized by medical students at Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, earlier this year.


For the emergency personnel, from Bruce County EMS, the South Bruce OPP, Kincardine and Tiverton fire departments and St. John Ambulance, this was a training exercise to put their skills to the test. They were only given a location by MedLINCS prior to the event, but had no idea what the scenario would be until they arrived on scene.


“Any time we (emergency responders) get an opportunity to train together is great and MedLINCS giving us patients is a bonus,” said Kincardine fire chief Kent Padfield. “We are better when the actual 911 calls come in.”


This is the ninth year that Grey Bruce MedLINCS has organized mock disasters. Chair Myrna Inglis said the events give students valuable experience around what conditions are like at the scene of an emergency to give them a better idea if they want to pursue a career as an emergency responder. The students also got to test out their acting skills as they played the roles of accident victims.


“I wanted to see what I’m interested in doing,” said Taylor Hasson of Tiverton. Her sister Delaney participated in a similar exercise last year. “I’ve always wanted to do something in the medical field.”


“This gave me the opportunity to get involved and maybe it will help me figure out what I want to do,” said Lauren Jolley of Kincardine. “We got to see how they (responders) work in situations. I was nervous, but once you get into character and see how it’s done it’s really fun.”