Preparing for the worst, local first responders drill for mass disasters


SULLIVAN CO, Tenn. - University Medical Center in Nevada is the hospital that treated more than 100 patients after the Las Vegas shooting.

Staff members there were prepared because they had practiced disaster drills on a concert venue in the past.

If there were a mass disaster in Sullivan County, Tenn, the Bristol fire department and rescue squad would team up with the police department to tackle the issue.

The rescue squad practices an active shooter drill once a year with local schools.

Each member of the EMS team and fire department knows how to respond in a mass disaster scenario.

"Everybody who goes through paramedic school, is taught how to triage mass casualties. It doesn't have to be an active shooter to create mass casualties. We could classify anything that overwhelms our resources as a mass casualty," explained Lieutenant Nathan Johnson of the fire department.

He said EMS members are not the only ones who can help in a life or death situation.

"Hemorrhaging is a main thing that we're looking at, so if a bystander stops the bleeding, it could save someone's life. And I think they've shown that in Las Vegas," said Jonson.

Bristol Regional Medical Center practices disaster drills twice a year.

"Of course anything like that is chaotic. For any disaster, planning or real, it's all hands on deck, everybody participates," explained the Chief Nursing Officer, Tim Anderson. "We have a plan where we call staff in, also physicians, and we have everybody show up to help with the patients."

Deputies at the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office a required to go through active shooter training every year.

The Sheriff's Office helps with security inside Bristol Motor Speedway during the races.

"Our officers realize that this could happen here, and it kind of has. If you look at the volunteer parkway shooting, that was not as huge as the Vegas shooting... but it was still there, so training has been very crucial for us at the department," said Public Information Officer, Kristen Quon.

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