Shelby County first responders practice for mass causality situation

Shelby County first responders practice for mass causality situation

SHELBY COUNTY, TN (WMC) - It’s the worst-case scenario – an emergency situation with mass casualties.

The Shelby County Health Department conducted a full-scale drill to test hospitals and emergency personnel to see whether they're ready if the unthinkable ever happens.

In the mass casualty exercise, they pretended it was a plane crash caused by severe weather with hundreds of people injured.

They try to make as realistic as possible, so early Wednesday morning, the Agricenter looked more like something out of a horror movie.

They recruited some of the best makeup artists in the city, applying make-up to make this mass casualty exercise actually feel like the real thing.

More than 400 volunteer victims boarded buses to various hospitals across the Mid-South, including Regional One, St. Francis and Baptist Memorial Hospital.

“The big thing is when you've got a mass group of people that are injured at once, you're putting a huge stress on local hospitals,” said Rick Keith with the Memphis Officer of Emergency Management.

The Shelby County Public Health Department and the Mid-South Emergency Planning Coalition want to make sure hospital staffs are prepared to assess the injuries and make sure patients are going to the right hospitals.

“In any drill that I've been in over the years communication seems to be a simple thing, but there's always room to improve with communication,” Keith said.

The Mid-South hasn't recently seen the type of mass casualty situations like in other cities, but every year they run this drill to make sure they're ready just in case.

The health department spent several months preparing for the day’s events.

The various hospital staffs will all hold debriefings to go over what they learned from this exercise.

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