American Red Cross volunteer and Cerritos resident Jeff Dohzen is helped to the triage unit during a simulated disaster response exercise at St. Mary Medical Center (SMMC) on Atlantic Avenue. In theory, terrorists had attacked Long Beach with a chemical agent, requiring victims to don protective suits and take showers as part of the emergency response. In reality, the exercise was part of an educational drill coordinated by SMMC’s Disaster Resource Center and the Army National Guard Ninth Civil Support Team, both of which provided the necessary equipment, including a mobile shower trailer for neutralizing harmful chemical agents.
Enthusiastic role-playing and fake, bloody wounds made the scene surreal and eerily realistic. Disaster response staff could be heard reaffirming victim’s chances of survival. “You’re going to be okay,” said an SMMC staff member while evaluating a bloody victim’s level of trauma in order to determine the appropriate treatment.
Community Hospital of Long Beach and Providence St. Joseph Hospital in Burbank also participated in the educational drill.