Junction City students take part in crisis training scenario

By Derek Smith
Junction City Daily Union – May 1, 2017

Photo by Derek Smith. Click on photo to view full-size.

Emergency crews worked to extract victims from an overturned car on one side of the parking lot at Junction City High School’s Deever Center Friday, while on the other side, a group of students, freshly evacuated from the school building. were hosed down in a mist from a JCFD fire truck in an effort to decontaminate them of any anhydrous ammonia.

Thankfully, none of it was real. It was all part of the Tornado Strike with Haz-Mat Incident” training exercise, which took place all over Junction City Friday.

The scenario served as joint training for emergency crews from Junction City and Fort Riley, as well as a way to give USD 475 students a window in to what functions different emergency personnel serve in a crisis.

The scenario imagined a tornado hitting Junction City, damaging an anhydrous ammonia tank, which sent a cloud of the poisonous gas over the high school, contaminating a number of students.

The project was coordinated by Junction City High School Science, Engineering and Technology Academy Leader Nancy Dettmer and Geary Community Hospital Marketing and Public Relations Specialist Nikki Davies. Dettmer and Davies worked with community leaders to organize the event to prepare students for how to respond in a crisis, both as a victim and as a responder.

“Hopefully it’s gonna help them make an informed decision about what they’re gonna do when they leave here,” Dettmer said. “We have so many kids that are interested in the medical field. I call it the ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ effect, because of what they see on (popular TV series) Grey’s Anotomy, when in fact what they see on TV is not at all what it’s like in the actual medical world.”

The exercise utilized Junction City High School’s unique academy structure, allowing students with interest in certain medical and emergency management fields to shadow actual emergency personnel and serve as fake victims.

Journalism and audio visual students also took part, covering the event as if it were a real crisis.

Beyond the high school students, students from Junction City Boy Scout Troop 41 took part, as well as students from Geary Community Hospital’s Medical Explorers program, which Davies heads.

As part of the scenario, students who were “contaminated” by the anhydrous ammonia cloud were transported by bus to GCH where they received specialized emergency decontamination treatment.

The hospital activated its incident command center for the exercise, meaning the entire active labor pool of the facility — which averages 150 active workers each day — had to check in.

“(That’s) so we know how many people we have and where we can put them when we need them,” Davies said.

Students were taken through the second round of decontamination at the hospital, then triaged and sent to the appropriate departments within the facility to treat their needs.

“This is a fantastic training experience, not just for us, but for the medical explorers,” Davies said.


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