Ask an Expert



Error: Contact form not found.


In November 2019, I participated in the Fredericksburg Mass Casualty Exercise. It was an intense and emotional experience that went well with all the various groups included. We had to sign a waiver that we wouldn’t take/post any pictures. They didn’t want any confusion that a real incident had occurred. I have for you the 2 minute video link that summarizes the event. I’m in the green sweatshirt.
We arrived early and were assigned our roles and had theater makeup applied. I was an active victim that had lacerations on my face and knee. My mom and one of my friends that participated were unconscious victims. We were all instructed to really act out our roles and I believe everyone did a great job. This simulation exercise mimicked the Boston marathon bombing. It gave me chills when we were acting panicked, scared and running around knowing that people really went through this horrific scenario in real life. Their makeup didn’t wash off and the ‘drill’ never ended. God bless each and every one of them. A Chaos 5k run was coordinated with this event (runners were aware of the training exercise). After they passed the ‘bomb’ noise went off. At first, I wondered around confused and one of the runners helped me to the side. I kept yelling for my mom and asking people if they’d seen her. The mobile/active victims tried to get the first responders to our friends/worse victims (one guy near me was simulating a leg amputee so we sent the medic his way). Through the course of the event, I cuddled a baby doll that passed away and had a rather real meltdown when my mom was moved to the morgue mat. Ambulances arrived and transported us to 1 of 4 local hospitals that were also participating in the drill. Their involvement wasn’t as interactive as in the field and could probably use some improvements but it still gave them a slight example of how their process would unfold. The various fire departments/medics were only informed they were coming to a race, they had no idea this was a mass casualty drill. If one small process or policy can be improved from this exercise, it could truly be lifesaving. I applaud everyone that participated, knowingly or unexpectedly. It was an event with the purpose of testing and improving our community’s emergency response skills/processes and I believe this was accomplished and successful.