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Drill Held in DC

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  • Drill Held in DC

    WASHINGTON (AP) - Emergency personnel in the nation's capital
    tested their ability to respond to a mass casualty incident,
    participating Thursday in a drill based on a poisonous gas
    scenario.
    The exercise was built around a group of five mock protesters
    who broke into an unused section of the St. Elizabeth's hospital.
    Drill participants were told they had dumped a bag of sodium
    cyanide near the spilled contents of a 55 gallon drum of
    hydrochloric acid.
    The chemicals can combine to produce the toxic gas sodium
    cyanide, which is used in gas chamber executions, said Alan Etter,
    spokesman for the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical
    Services Dept.
    The drill, dubbed Operation Uphill, involved about 50
    firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics as well
    as personnel from the D.C. Emergency Management Agency. About two
    dozen firefighters and emergency medical technicians from the U.S.
    Marine Corps also took part.
    "This is an opportunity for our operations people to observe
    how these systems work together," Etter said as hazardous
    materials specialists, rescue crews and medical personnel responded
    to the mock scenario.
    The old steamworks in the hospital served as the ACME Chemical
    plant, a mock hazardous materials processing facility.
    Firefighter-paramedics who responded to a local medical
    emergency call discovered dozens of mock patients exhibiting
    symptoms of respiratory distress. Some also displayed cuts and
    other traumatic injuries.
    As additional equipment arrived, a decontamination area was
    established upwind and uphill from the incident site. Ambulances
    and other emergency vehicles staged in a safe area a short distance
    away.
    "The contaminated area is the hot zone, you want to provide
    first aid and assessment in a warm zone, and then transport the
    seriously injured to hospitals," said Etter.
    As the scenario continued, Etter reported a dozen fatalities
    within the first hour. The victims were primarily civilian clad
    Marines from the nearby Washington Navy Yard.
    The district has about 400 EMS providers among its 1,350
    firefighters. Of that number, 60 are rapid responder paramedics.
    About 28 of them have now completed hazardous materials response
    training considered essential for such operations.
    "We're training more personnel constantly," Etter said, noting
    that D.C. firefighters and EMT's took part in a large exercise at
    the Pentagon last month.
    ---
    On the Net:
    D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department:
    http://fems.dc.gov/main.shtm
    D.C. Emergency Management Agency: http://dcema.dc.gov/main.shtm



    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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