Mock Disaster Training Hones Response Skills

That’s the primary purpose behind a three-day disaster training exercise in rural Nodaway County, east of Maryville. Northwest Missouri State University — which offers a major in emergency and disaster management — is the host.

by Ray Scherer, St. Joseph News-Press, Mo. / October 10, 2016
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(TNS) - It was a practice in preparing for the worst, in case real disasters were ever to occur.

That’s the primary purpose behind a three-day disaster training exercise in rural Nodaway County, east of Maryville. Northwest Missouri State University — which offers a major in emergency and disaster management — is the host.

Missouri Hope 2016 is bringing 500 people to the Mozingo Outdoor Education and Recreation Area and Mozingo Youth Camp, in efforts to fine-tune emergency responses in scenarios that mirror real-life situations.

Now in its fourth year, the field-oriented program is designed to test the strengths of those from various disciplines, such as medicine.

“We’re here to supply the products — the IVs (intravenous), the backboards — anything the participants need,” said Kyle Garrett, Missouri Hope’s incident commander for medical logistics.

His team also was responsible for keeping track of such items as cervical collars and disposable supplies as they were used throughout the exercise. Garrett said the intent was to determine the amounts that would be required for future training sessions.

Several regional triage tents, stocked with medical supplies and funded through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, dotted the landscape. Those units are based in Maryville, Cameron, St. Joseph and Bethany, according to Garrett.

“They’ve all got communications, generators to set up,” he said.

Alex Rohlwing, Missouri Hope’s protocol officer, said the Consortium for Humanitarian Service and Education is providing the opportunity for the hands-on disaster relief practice.

“The overall goal is to bring (together) different emergency response agencies in this area of Missouri,” he said. “It kind of give them an overview of a big, multiagency disaster response.”

Those who participate in the training as victims come from a host of diverse groups, Rohlwing added.

“They’re not just university students,” he said.

The program include water rescues and instances in which teams responded to retrieve residents of a facsimile town that suffered a disaster. Leadership and “follower-ship” skills also were taught, along with teamwork and proper communication.

The fourth year has resulted in decreasing the time necessary to set up field hospitals on the site.

The training, which began Friday, wraps up today.

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