If you could imagine a world without bombs, this entire blog would be unnecessary.
But bombs do detonate and explode their confusion and casualties upon the world. Other horrible catastrophes happen. Thus, hospitals and schools and governments spend time each year planning disaster drills–and hiring coordinators who determine how well each agency performs.
If you are squeamish, do not read on. Do not look at any of the following photos. Even though they were all community members enacting a disaster drill at our local hospital last Thursday, you may prefer not to look at photos of folks with “blood-stained” clothes or faces or appendages.
If you choose to leave, perhaps you can sit quietly imagining a day when no more bombs exist–or people suddenly have hearts too big to want to kill fellow beings.
On November 10th, Baraga County Memorial Hospital and the local ambulance service participated in a mass casualty exercise, resulting in ten “victims” being treated.
Here’s what happened in the imaginary drill: Forty miles north, at Michigan Technological University, a bomb exploded at a large gathering. Approximately one hundred casualties were triaged, transported and treated at three local hospitals.
Our local hospital received the overflow. The exercise tested emergency department capabilities and staff readiness.
You may wonder how this blogger found herself in the middle of a full-blown disaster drill, behind the scenes in the local hospital’s emergency room?
Because, as some of you know, my husband is the local newspaper editor. The L’Anse Sentinel covers events like these in its pages, and Barry needed to take a few pictures before we drove up to Houghton–where the bombing allegedly occurred–and enjoyed a nice dinner out.
We appeared at the hospital a little early. Nope, no victims. We searched out the coordinator of the drill. She looked curiously at yours truly.
“Is he paying you for helping?” she asked, looking at my camera.
“Yes,” yours truly replied, “He’s treating me to dinner.”
(I don’t bother to explain about blogs anymore. Most people just look confused.)
We were asked to don lime green vests. We returned to the emergency room to wait, when suddenly–
In rushed a “bleeding” victim.
“Help! Help!” she cried, and the emergency room doors swung open.
We had asked permission to photograph inside, and thus the doors admitted us, as well.
The nurses and doctors and victims all performed admirably. The victims suffered, the nurses tended and the doctors examined. The reporters/photographers tried to stand out of the way.
The disaster drill evaluator stood with his clipboard, scribbling away.
I imagined he was writing: “KEEP THE PRESS OUT OF THE EMERGENCY ROOM!” (And what would he have written if he knew there were BLOGGERS in the emergency room, heaven forbid?)
However, these disaster drill folks also like their publicity, which is probably also required by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Healthcare Preparedness Program as part of their funding requirements. I did not make up that name. It’s probably got an acronym like OASPRHPP.
It felt like being part of an exciting play. It wasn’t until days later that I realized how different this would have felt if it had really happened. The horror of it would be unimaginable.
Which made me wonder: wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world with no bombs? No people who wanted to kill, maim, injure, hurt? What if we lived in a place where love and healing was a stronger impetus than hate and injury?
I guess that is still a dream in many hearts. This morning I heard an early Christmas song on the radio which speaks of this dream:
Someday at Christmas men won’t be boys
playing with bombs like boys play with toys
one warm December our hearts will see
a world where men are free…
Still dreaming this might someday happen. In the meantime, your local Emergency Management Education Coordinator is probably already planning your next disaster drill.