Mass casualty drill prepares emergency responders in West Middlesex

More drills like this at different schools around Mercer County will be planned in the future

Agencies in Mercer County prepared for a mass casualty situation in West Middlesex.

WEST MIDDLESEX, Pa. (WYTV) – Twenty agencies across Mercer County participated in a mass casualty drill in West Middlesex Monday morning to prepare if real danger happens.

“All of those agencies working together have a responsibility to make sure that we can come together as a group to facilitate an effective evacuation plan,” said Director Frank Jannetti.

The training exercise was an explosion at a high school with several victims. Firefighters had to crawl under clouds of thick smoke to find survivors.

Actors played injured or dead students, and several West Middlesex Junior and Senior High School teachers participated as well.

Firefighters brought the students outside to a triage area where EMS checked injuries. If they had minor injuries, they would go to a family reunification area to waiting relatives. Several students were severely injured though, including one who was airlifted.

The main focus of the drill was getting the evacuation process down.

“An evacuation plan can be anything from an active shooter event, to a fire, to a tornado, to anything, so practicing an evacuation is a key item,” Jannetti said.

Not only did the exercise help prepare emergency responders, but Superintendent Dr. David Foley said it was also helpful for students and staff.

“We talk to these students all of the time. We do some of the drills without the students involved and the role of the teacher is to lead the students, explain to the students, ‘Follow our lead and participate.'”

After the drill, everyone discussed what happened and watched a video of the training exercise to debrief.

More drills like this at different schools around the county will be planned in the future.