Firefighters, EMT’S, First Responders Partake In Disaster Drill At High School

Members of the Nantucket Fire Department, EMT Trainees, and other first responders participated in a disaster drill program Sunday afternoon at Nantucket High School. The program is produced by the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians (NAEMT) and nine students from North Reading High School’s drama club were brought to the island to act as victims of a disaster situation.

“We have done a few of these and what is good from a fire department aspect is we have everybody from six months at an EMT school to 25 years of experience with the fire department,” Firefighter/EMT and Local 2509 Vice President Shane Perry said. “So you have all of these different skillsets coming together and working as a team. It gives new guys and other paramedics the opportunity to see what potentially could happen in one of these disaster situations.”

The drill began with two Nantucket Police officers clearing the hallway. Then the EMT’s entered the room where all the staging was set, with kids assuming different roles that are consistent with what these EMT’s could see in a real-life situation.

Perry said he believed this was one of the better drills from a standpoint of communication and checking the boxes that protocol calls for them to do. He said one of the things he likes most about this training is student actors from off-island are brought over to be the actors, while in the airport disaster drill, they use Nantucket students.

“What is nice about it is you don’t know the kids and the fact they are drama students adds a whole other level of things you would actually see in the field,” Perry said. “Something that, maybe not on a frequent basis, but you could on EMS calls see a frantic person, you could see unconscious victims or whatever it may be, so to put all of those into one scenario whether it is an incident in the schools, the movie theater, grocery store, or even just at a park, you never know what the location will be, but to see all of this together is valuable experience.”

One of the young actors, who was hiding on top of a cabinet under a blanket with his head inside of a box, was not found by any of the first responders in either sweep.

Perry said this is an example of something that teaches a valuable lesson. It illustrates another hiding scenario kids could pursue in case of an emergency.

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