Emergency Management Explorer Post 493 "Mock Disaster" Photos
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Mon, 25 Aug 1997 12:23:24 -0600
Emergency Management Explorer Post 493 home page is pleased to host photos
(courtesy of Dr. Carl Crosswhite) from the (fifth annual) 1997 Explorer
Mock Disaster Exercise, held at the
old (abandoned) Stapleton International Airport in Denver, CO, on May 4,
1997. The airport is "stripped" and no longer used since DIA opened, but
was perfect for hosting such an event.
The photos can be viewed at:
Each year, in May, Explorers from Longs Peak Council, Denver Area Council,
and Pikes Peak Council (Front Range area of Colorado) plan and host a
"mock disaster" which is open to
Explorers from all interest areas and specialties, as well as Scout Troops
(who serve as "hostages" and injured "victims.")
PLANNING AND TRAINING
This year, over 200 Explorers and Scouts participated in the
"hostage/terrorist/bombing at an airport" scenario. The Explorers chose
this scenario due to the importance of knowing how to effectively respond
to such situations which regrettably seem to be increasing. Many
explorers will pursue careers in which this type of training is
The incident was completely devised, planned and coordinated by the
Explorer Steering Committee, composed of Explorers from Law Enforcement,
Emergency Management, Firefighters, Emergency Medical Services, Search and
Rescue, High Adventure/Outdoor, Civil Air Patrol/Aviation, and many other
interest areas from the three councils. Planning begins in late Fall and
continues until the event occurs. Meetings are held on alternate Friday
nights in the early months, then on every Friday as the event approaches.
Turnout for the steering committee meetings averaged 20 to 30 Explorers
which is quite a commitment for busy teens, especially on a Friday nite.
Many traveled over 100 miles to attend meetings. Specialized training for
each group is conducted by the Explorer "team
leaders" (S.W.A.T., Arrest Teams, Hostage Negotiation, Perimeter, "Bad
Guys/Terrorists, EMS/Rescue, Firefighters, Incident Command/Emergency
management/Communications, moulage/staging, Safety, et al).
Adult advisors are recruited to support and advise the Explorer Trainers
and teams from each specialty area. Support agencies include, Law
Enforcement (Sheriff's and Police Departments sponsoring Explorer Posts
as well as technicians from Department Bomb Squads),
Federal Emergency Management Agency, Colorado State Patrol
Hazardous Materials and Communications teams and units, American Red
Cross, Fire Departments sponsoring Explorer Posts, Ambulance/EMS/Rescue
Agencies, and many others.
THE EVENT BEGINS
After all "responders" were staged in appropriate areas, and the "bad
guys" were in place, the event started with a loud "report" by the "bomb
squad" symbolizing the "explosion" which got the event off and running.
The initial responders arrived, determined the magnitude of the event, and
called for reinforcements from fire, EMS/rescue, hazardous materials,
incident command, et al. Hostage Negotiators established contact with the
"bad guys/terrorists" and demands were established (some of the demands
were for "pizza" and a helicopter, plus $27 million in cash). In the
meantime, SWAT teams entered the area, and isolated the terrorists, while
negotiators arranged for release of the hostages. SWAT and arrest teams
engaged the "bad guys" and released the hostages.
In the "explosion area," firefighters and EMS entered the area,
"evacuated the (non-toxic theatrical) smoke," treated and transported the
injured "victims" and triaged and transported numerous "casualties"
according to trauma and medical triage codes (S.T.A.R.T system means
special triage and rapid transport) red for priority 1, yellow
for priority 2, and green for "delayed/walking wounded).
Safety Officers were given ultimate authority to prevent dangerous
situations from actually occurring and to stop part or all of the exercise
if a dangerous situation occurred.
The incident commanders were staged in the Colorado State Patrol
Mobile Communications Center and used Tactical CAD (computer assisted
dispatching) programs to coordinate
their resources and communications for all teams.
Evaluators from the various adult advisors provided a post-event critique
for the Explorers to help them reflect on what went well and what they
might have done differently to improve their response. Critiques are
always done positively, as the event is a learning experience and
reflecting helps the Explorer get the most out of the experience.
Overall, the event is the best yet, and Explorers are already thinking
about a "scenario" for next year's event. A major benefit of the mock
disaster is that it allows many posts to come together with different
backgrounds, experience, and training, and to work together to managing a
mass casualty/major event to see how incident command is needed to
effectively utilize all resources available for such emergencies.
One Emergency manager serving as an evaluator remarked of the Explorers
and their handling of the event..."These young folks are really good at
this,...I sometimes wish I had adult teams that were as well trained and
effective in dealing with disasters.." which is a real compliment!
For more information, please feel free to contact me.
Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72, Boulder, CO
Explorer Mock Disaster Steering Committee Advisor, Longs Peak Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City