Columbia holds 2 day Disaster Training - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Columbia holds 2 day Disaster Training

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By: Robert Kittle

Emergency workers here in South Carolina spent Tuesday preparing for disasters like the terror in Boston where 3 were killed over 150 were injured in explosions at the Boston marathon finish line.

The disaster training exercise was scheduled to happen before Mondays events even happened but the Boston bombings did play a big part in how they trained.

A hangar at Columbia Metro Airport is where the state's planes are kept, but now, it's where the state's plans are being practiced for dealing with a mass casualty scenario. 

More than 150 people from the military, state and local agencies and 14 regional hospitals are going through two days of training drills.

On Tuesday, the first day, the participants have imaginary patients.

On the second day, two planes will land with actors and mannequins serving as the patients.

Peggy Holt, Medical Reserve Corps - "This has been planned for months, and in view of yesterday's disaster up in Boston, this makes it all the more important for us to be doing drills like this on a regular basis." 

Holt says seeing what happened in Boston will have everyone taking this training even more seriously.

Even eerier than the timing of this is the scenario they're working under, and it was decided a year ago as well. A bomb blast at a packed Bank of America stadium in Charlotte.

Under that scenario, some patients are already in hospitals in Charlotte. They would be flown to Columbia so the bombing casualties could be treated in Charlotte.     

Jeff Straub is emergency manager for the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System and is running the training, so he saw the Boston bombings from a different perspective.

Straub - "We weren't surprised. It's unfortunate and we hate that anyone was injured, but I think it solidifies why we do these exercises and the importance that it can happen anywhere; Boston, Greenville, Columbia."   

The exercise is being done by the National Disaster Medical System.

In real life, that's activated whenever a disaster is so large it overwhelms a local area's ability to respond with enough medical care. In Wednesday's drill, two military transport planes will fly into Columbia's airport.

     as Robert said ... Actors and mannequins will be the casualties.

     to keep the situation authentic ... The folks going through the training won't know exactly when the planes will land ... Or how many patients they'll have.

   

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