Saturday, April 2, 2016 - East Deerfield, Massachusetts Rail Yard - Over 30 agencies and nearly 200 participants drilled in East Deerfield at the Pan Am Rail Yard in an exercise designed to test the Franklin County Regional Emergency Planning Committee’s Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) plan. The scenario involved a collision between an Amtrak train and a small bus. The drill was funded by the Western Region Homeland Security Advisory Council.
The drill’s focus was triage, or the assessment of injuries and their severity. Victim volunteers had moulage applied to their bodies and were assigned to one of three train cars or a Franklin Regional Transit Authority bus in which to play wounded victims of non-specific accidents. First responders assessed the wounded and assigned colors to people based on the severity of their injuries. Green means the victim is categorized as “walking wounded,” or has sustained relatively minor injuries. Yellow signifies slightly more serious injuries and red means the patient is a priority because he faces an immediate threat to life. Black means the victim is dead or facing unpreventable death. Tracy Rogers (left) of the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) served as an evaluator during the MCI drill. Here she makes notes that will be submitted as performance improvement items on the exercise after action report.
Scenes from the bus accident at the MCI drill
In addition to the first responder’s triage training, members of the Northwest Massachusetts Incident Management Team were in attendance to provide command and control assistance and communications support. Members of the Amtrak Emergency Management Team participated in the MCI drill.
Members of the PanAm Railways Emergency Management Team also participated in the MCI drill.
Matt Wolkenbreit (center) of Community911 Training in Greenfield reviews the MCI equipment and protocols with exercise participants
Dozens of victim volunteers endured a gloomy overcast day with persistent cold misting rain throughout the 6 hour-long session.
Comments during the after action discussion considered how resources would be requested and where additional staff, equipment and supplies would be obtained. Other concerns were noted about coordinating communications on the scene and to mutual aid responders. Overall, responders considered the drill a success and will be updating the MCI plan with lessons learned during the drill.