At dusk on Saturday, March 16, twenty-six newly minted Bainbridge Island Emergency Medical Responders gathered in the upper parking lot of Fort Ward Park. Their impending mission was to complete a nighttime training exercise and stress test on the penultimate day of their two-weekend Wilderness First Responder course.
The stress part of the exercise was generated by the specific scenario, a lighting-caused plane crash in the park, leaving eight passengers, the pilot, and a plastic baby in dire need of emergency medical care.
Once it was dark, the scenario began, and the BIEMRs ventured down a trail in the park looking for victims of the crash. The passengers, in various states of consciousness and pain, screamed and yelled for help, amping up the stress level. A panicked father searched for his missing baby, later found under a pile of ferns. Another passenger who was drunk on airplane martinis distracted the BIEMRs from their mission of helping the injured.
One patient, who had suffered a fractured femur, howled in pain for nearly an hour and a half as a BIEMR team applied a tourniquet, treated him for shock, stabilized the injured leg, and loaded him onto a litter for transportation.
It took the BIEMRs longer to find a patient who was hidden under brush. He had endured a liver-lacerating injury when he collided with his tray table on the airplane, an injury that caused him to vomit fake blood once he was discovered.
The pilot, who admitted to using social media on his phone while flying the plane, which might have contributed to the crash, had been impaled by a pole. Another passenger suffered a myocardial infarction, a woman had a head injury, a man broke his wrist, and an amputee succumbed to her injuries.
Moulage artist and BIEMR Rachel Yobs had prepared the patients in advance by creating simulated amputations, lacerations, head injuries, impalements, and fractures.
A BIEMR team managed a command center in the parking lot from where they tracked patients and their injuries via radio communication and made simulated arrangements to transport the patients.
The course, taught by Remote Medical International instructors, is a hybrid program commissioned by the City of Bainbridge Island to prepare Islanders for a medical response in the event of a large-scale emergency. BIEMRs will respond to hubs around the Island during a crisis to offer interim medical care to the injured and help prepare them for transportation if needed to more definitive care.
Enjoy these images of the event:
Photos by Sarah Lane.