November 6, 2002, was a normal Wednesday afternoon just like every other in Nome, Alaska, except for the bodies laying on the airport tarmac. Victims from a 747 crash littered the runway as rescue personnel rushed to assist them.
Perception shifts. One of the victims giggles as his injuries are assessed. In looking around one notices that no blood or gore is present, except for the make up applied to several victims to simulate bruises, lacerations, and other injuries.
This scene was part of a multi-victim disaster drill conducted each year by Nome’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS), airport personnel, and the U.S. Department of Transportation workers.
Students at Nome Adventist School were asked by the EMS department to serve as victims for the drill in order to lend a feeling of authenticity by having living subjects instead of just mannequins.
Victims were assessed on the scene and then transported to a triage area by ambulance and fire personnel where their injuries were ranked by severity. Transport to the local hospital was carried out in ambulance, fire rescue rig, army truck, and in some cases even the back of a pick up truck. At Norton Sound Regional Hospital, students were further assessed by the hospital team where treatment was simulated and further transport decisions were made.
The students enjoyed the experience and wished they really could have been med-evaced out to Anchorage, except with no injuries so they could enjoy it! Student participants included Melissa Owens, Miles Roaer, Naomi Jorgensen, Arielle Jorgensen, Briana Rose, Michael Kralik, Cara Buie, and Susan Reddaway.