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Local emergency personnel participate in mock disaster drill

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Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
Local emergency personnel participate in mock disaster drill
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Anyone who wasn't aware of what was happening at Homestead Park in Waskish Aug. 6 thought they had entered a war zone with trees toppled over cars, a trailer overturned and bodies scattered here and there.


This was the scene at the mock disaster drill put on by the Kelliher Fire Rescue and the Kelliher, Saum, Quiring and Waskish First Responders.

The EMS personnel were debriefed of the situation an hour before the drill at the Waskish Airport. The drill itself began at 11 a.m. Victims were brought in by a bus from the Kelliher School District. There were three scenarios during this drill.

During one phase, a car with two occupants had encountered a tornado which caused it to crash into a tree which fell on top of the vehicle along with power lines.

Rescue crews on-scene had to assess and extract the two "victims" from the overturned vehicle. One First Responder, unaware that there were downed power lines, was taken out of the game early as she came in contact with the power line.

The second scenario was that of a victim pinned underneath an overturned travel trailer. EMS personnel had to stabilize the victim before removing the trailer that was on top of him and getting him safely back to the waiting ambulance.

The third situation the rescues were face with was a water rescue. This rescue was to have used a medical helicopter however, a few minutes after the drill began, the helicopter was called out to a real emergency and emergency crews had to improvise, pooling their skills and resources to complete their rescue mission.

The main goal of this drill was to practice mutual aid with the multiple agencies that were involved. Before any of this could take place, personnel had to undergo extra training which included classes on triage training, incident command and communications training.

Agencies who were on hand to take part in the drill included Kelliher Fire Rescue and the Kelliher, Saum, Quiring and Waskish First Responders; Blackduck Fire Department, Blackduck Ambulance, North Memorial Air Care, Beltrami County Sheriff's Office and Emergency Management, Greater Northwest EMS, the mounted posse, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources conservation officers, Baudette Emergency Services and members of a local amateur radio club.

"Victims" of this mock disaster were from local areas with their wounds provided by Beltrami County EMS.

Pioneer staff reports