Over the weekend, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency held a bombing simulation at the University of North Georgia. Volunteer victims and emergency medical personnel were instructed to act as though there had been a real bombing during a basketball game.
Located just on the outskirts of Gainesville, GA. the athletic center on the University of North Georgia campus has just been bombed.
18 year old Chelsea Cunningham is getting fake injuries glued on. Cunningham just graduated high school and wants to go into the medical field so she joined about 20 other volunteers to act as victims of a bombing.
“My intestines are falling out. I got sliced right here, and I’m gonna lay out and wait for EMS to come and rescue us”.
There’s a light hearted feeling of Halloween, with lots of people joking about being on “The Walking Dead” tv show. But once the volunteers are told to start, the scene quickly becomes very unsettling.
There are blood splatters on the floor and injured people are scattered across the basketball court. And alongside them are dismembered dummies.
Courtney Terwilliger is chairman of the Georgia Association of Emergency Medical Services. He says this simulation isn’t a test of the paramedics.
“No, we’re not saying you pass, you fail, you made an A, or you made a C. That’s not the intent. The intent is for us to learn and using the knowledge we gain here today to change the way we train, change the way we’re equipped. All these medics are good medics”.
Participating EMS personnel came from various counties including Hall, Clarke, and the Metro Atlanta area. They had to take victims out on gurneys, load them into ambulances, then decide which hospital to transport them to depending on their injuries. Paramedic Christie Cole said that this simulation highlighted the difficulties of communication.
“It’s good practice for us to see where our deficiencies are, what we’re doing good, things we can improve upon. This has been a bit chaotic though. All of these counties; none of us are used to working together, so it kind makes it difficult”.
GEMA holds training exercises like this once a year. This is the second one aimed exclusively for EMS personnel.