HUBBARD, Ohio (WYTV) – Over 120 emergency personnel and volunteers from Eagle Joint Fire District got together Saturday morning for a mass casualty drill at Harding Park in Hubbard.
The goal? To test the response of emergency officials and area hospitals – St. Elizabeth (both Youngstown and Boardman) and St. Joseph Health Center (Warren) – in the event of an emergency.
This time, the scenario was that a bomb containing mustard gas exploded at a music festival and affected 28 people
“They decontaminated me, they sprayed me off with water and then they took me in the ambulance to Saint Joe’s where I went to the emergency room,” said Abby Stein, a mock victim. “They checked me in like I was a real patient there.”
Stein was part of a group of students from Youngstown State and Kent State that acted as mock victims. She said it didn’t feel like a drill.
“I knew it was fake – like I knew I was just acting – but I just kept thinking about it really happening to somebody,” she said. “Like, what if it was real life?…I kept thinking about those people and the things that happened. And it really – it felt real.”
Mike Kerr, one of the organizers of Saturday’s event, said they aim to make these scenarios as realistic as possible
“We do the drills, so just in case it does happen, we wanna make sure that we feel that we’re a lot more prepared than most,” he said.
When incidents like those in New York and Orlando are fresh in the minds of many, Stein said it comforts her to know that her hometown is actively working to keep her safe.
“I feel a lot safer now that I know that Hubbard is trained to handle that kind of situation.” she said.
Because as these fire officials know, anything can happen in the blink of an eye.
“This, this can happen anywhere,” said Kent Kelley of the Eagle Joint Fire Department. “This can happen in any rural neighborhood and in the big cities, as well as any small neighborhood out there.”