Imagine no bombs…

It's an emergency

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.

Bomb victim and nurse

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.

Second bomb victim and nurses

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?

Victim explains what happened...

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.)

They try to help

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…

See the man with the clipboard on the right? That's how you know it's only a drill. Only a drill.

Still dreaming this might someday happen.  In the meantime, your local Emergency Management Education Coordinator is probably already planning your next disaster drill.

About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
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30 Responses to Imagine no bombs…

  1. It is not just bombs of course; I’ve been a ‘victim’ in a similar scenario here in the UK

    http://uphilldowndale.wordpress.com/2008/01/21/practice-makes-perfect-part-2/

    • Kathy says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience, Mrs. Uhdd. I hadn’t thought of airplane crashes. I appreciated this sentence especially in your blog: “what crossed all our minds was how we couldn’t start to imagine what the casualties might feel like if it were for real.”

  2. Great exercise is disaster mitigation. My partner specializes in disaster response, thus her work in response to the 2004 tsunami in SE Asia, the earthquake in Haiti, etc. So I appreciate this sort of thing–bit time. Great post!
    Kathy

    • Kathy says:

      Thanks, Kathy. Don’t you admire people who respond to disasters, who actually help make a difference when earthquakes and tsunamis hit? Deep bows to your partner…

  3. Elisa's Spot says:

    sighing and thinking…
    whatever would we do without bombs and money?

  4. Sybil says:

    Imagine all the people living life in peace …
    You, may say, I’m a dreamer.
    But I’m not the only one.
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will live as one.

    — John Lennon

    Amen.

    — Sybil

  5. Thanks for the informative story!!…..most likely I am the guy with the clipboard…..I am part of our county Medical Reserve Corps….we do these quite a bit…..

    Smile….

  6. Dawn says:

    This was interesting, I’ve never seen one before. Glad you got to go in and write about it for us. If the world had no money I suppose we’d all find other things to fight over…but still…it’s a thought.

    • Kathy says:

      Dawn, I find myself in very interesting situations sometimes due to Barry’s job. I would have never thought to write about something like this, but, heck, it was part of last week. Yes, we’d find other things to fight about. But…I’m still with John Lennon…maybe some day?

  7. Martha Bergin says:

    I just sorta wonder whether the mitigation part made possible by the readiness is good, or whether we should NOT rehearse this sort of thing. ?

    • Kathy says:

      That’s a good question, Martha, and one that should always be pondered. (I always like when we think “out of the box”.) I suppose, like everything else, it has positive and negative aspects to it.

  8. Brenda Hardie says:

    sighing and thinking alongside Elisa…what if….

    • Kathy says:

      What if…I like that we can all ask “what ifs”. I like that we can all plan for possibilities. I like that we can think. I don’t like the bombs and disasters, though.

  9. john says:

    Everyone needs to be prepared everywhere.

    It may be a bomb, it might be a fuel truck in the fog, it might be a bus overturning in a snow storm, or plane crashing into a school. It could even be a gas explosion in a mine on the Yellow Dog Plain.

    Disasters will happen.

    Those who are prepared, who know what to do, where to go, who to call, will give a little girl a father to walk her down the aisle one day, give a boy the opportunity to ask that girl he has been dating all through High School to marry him, give a mother the joy of seeing her daughter graduate college, and a loving couple the opportunity to grow old together.

    The people in Columbine, an unincorporated area of Jefferson County, Colorado, couldn’t predict what would happen at the high school, the folks near Joplin never imagined that an F5 tornado could tear straight through town and the people of Oklahoma City couldn’t believe the destruction that could be wreaked by 5,000 lbs of fertilizer and racing fuel.

    So the wise prepare and practice. We are all far better off, because of that. Kathy, thank you for pointing out the wisdom of the people of L’Anse and the rest of the Keweenaw.

    • Kathy says:

      Gosh, a gas explosion on the Yellow Dog Plain…maybe Kennicott will go up with it? (Just kiddin, I did not say that.) It would still be sad to see people injured or killed. We never imagine that these things could happen to us. It was interesting being a part of this, and being able to share it with folks here.

  10. Reggie says:

    Very thought-provoking post, Kathy… I get queasy at the sight of blood, even if I know it is ‘fake’, so well done on sticking with it and taking the photos. I’m sure it was comforting to see that the hospital staff would be able to deal with an emergency such as this – though we all pray with all our hearts that this will not happen.

    “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.”

    I love that last phrase – “people have hearts too big to want to kill fellow beings” – that is sooo well phrased, Kathy.

    Thank you for telling us about it. Love and hugs to you both!

    • Kathy says:

      I am glad you were able to continue reading, even with your queasiness, Reggie. When I was with Barry in the hospital lately, my legs kept threatening to buckle. Would not be a good nurse. Glad you agree with me about wanting hearts to big to kill others.

  11. penpusherpen says:

    I think exercises like this bring home the facts to everyone, Kathy, with the bombings in the UK, the underground and the bus bombs, we all felt the aftershock… the total disbelief that one group of humans could confer such terror and pain onto others… AS long as people feel they can make a point this way…we shall never be safe, Terrorism is a ghastly thing… and preparation should lessen the shock and bring order from the chaos the terrorists use as a deadly weapon…. xPenx

    • Kathy says:

      I can almost imagine the total disbelief you would feel, Pen. Horror, pain, shock. I often wonder about the inner suffering of terrorists, too. Their pain must be so great, in order to do that the a fellow human being. It is so hard to imagine.

  12. holessence says:

    think, Think, THINKING alongside alongside Elisa and Brenda.

  13. Carol says:

    What if man could learn to discuss calmly, to hear clearly, to be reasonable and shelve the defensiveness and self-interest? What if we could truly learn to love one another?

  14. It’s too bad that drills like this are necessary…. So many of us have been sheltered from awful events, it’s like something that would only happen in a nightmare. I have to thank my lucky stars that I have never been a part of something like this – I haven’t even been in a NATURAL disaster (flood, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, etc….). It’s good that people are trying to stay on top of things, you never know when assistance may be needed……

    • Kathy says:

      Holly, it is so sad that these kinds of drills are necessary. We have been so sheltered. Even though we hear about it on the news, most of us have not survived a real disaster. Don’t you wonder, sometimes, how you would be? Whether you would rise to your best or flounder at your most human confusion?

  15. Robin says:

    Your post reminded me of this:

    Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A beauty bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn’t go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination.

    ~ Robert Fulghum

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