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First Responders Are Training For Disaster Event
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Mississippi's First Responders are learning what to do if a disaster strikes the state, and what to do during a mass-casualty incident.

Students from Northwest Rankin Middle School are lying on the ground covered in fake blood with torn clothes. Some scream for help while others just lie there, not moving. What looks like a scene from a bad horror movie is actually a valuable training tool for some of the state's first responders. Julie Kelly is with the Mississippi Center for Emergency Services - a division of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. She says the scenario was part of a three day course to teach first responders what to do in a situation where there could be a large number of injuries.

"We've been talking about how to manage more than 20-ish patents at a time in a scenario that is very stressful, very chaotic and very unorganized." says Kelly. "We are instructing teams to figure out how to approach that no matter what they disaster was. The result is there are victims so you have to figure out how to get in, triage your patients and then how to get out."

During the scenario, where an explosion occurred near a school, local, state and some federal first responders were forced to work together to assess the situation and provide assistance to those who need it. Kelly says by working together first responders can get a feel of what each agency can bring to the table during a disaster. 

"To have an exposure to how a mass-casualty event should look." says Kelly. "It'll look chaotic, but when you start seeing all of these other agencies and all of the other people around hopefully you'll have an exposure and an understanding and an awareness as to what their function is."

Shannon Sandridge is with the Mississippi State Fire Academy. He says the scenario also helps responders prepares themselves for what is often a difficult situation.

"It's not an everyday occurrence and when they do hit normally it's a tragedy to the community and the whole area and also the first responders because their overwhelmed by it." Sandridge says.

More than 100 emergency responders participated in the event.