Drill brings mass casualty training to Douglas County

Drill brings mass casualty training to Douglas County

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- It's chaos unlike anything Douglas County has ever seen: Active shooters, car crashes and a multiple hostage situation had police, fire and medical teams scrambling to help those they could.

But don't worry, it was just a drill.

Patrick Wright, a Winston Reserve Police Officer, described what they had to do after a shootout at the Starlite Drive-In. "We conducted a building search," said Wright. "Inside, we came across two female shooters, had multiple hostages, five I believe. One (shooter) was taken into custody, the other was neutralized."

The scenarios that unfolded could be described as a 'nightmare' for any community, but it was actually a part of Umpqua Community College's annual emergency services drill.

Roger Kennedy, the EMS Program Coordinator, says students won't get training like this anywhere else. "We're trying to give students training they would never receive anywhere else, so this gives them some real life experience that they couldn't get in the classroom.

While police were busy negotiating for hostages, those studying to be paramedics worked on helping the victims of the mock car crash.

This is the third time Douglas County has put on a mass casualty drill, and although the chaos is simulated, the panic was real.

Rebecca Wagner was a mock hostage, and says it was pretty realistic. "We were told to just go with it, it was really scary," she said.

Officer Wright says the training is valuable for everyone. "I didn't know what to expect going into it, and honestly, you never know, so training is always good," he said.

The casualties were transported for treatment by UCC nursing students, some even taken by Life Flight to Mercy Medical Center.