First Responders in Park Put to the Test

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LEHMAN TOWNSHIP -- Emergency responders for the National Park Service were put to the test Wednesday afternoon by a drill for a mass casualty incident.

Volunteers took part in the mass casualty exercise at the Pocono Environmental Education center near Bushkill. The group dressed up and put on fake wounds.  They also used fake blood to make the drill a little more real.

"I’m going to have a bruise on my wrist and I’ll be all feverish," said Calla Sandt, a volunteer.

"I’m going to have chest pains, heart problems, difficulty breathing," said Joel Schwartz, also a volunteer.

The scenario for the drill: a blizzard and the weight of the snow on the roof of the Education Center was too much and the roof collapsed. A group of visitors was hurt.

Once the group got the go-ahead, they reacted to their assigned injuries by crying out in pain. The first responders jumped into action, as though it was a true emergency.

One by one, the park rangers and EMTs went into the room to find the injured and provide care. Then one of the park rangers, who often deals with the media, pretended to be part of the media and tried to get interviews.

This was a test for the rangers to see how they would do once the media showed up.

The volunteers who helped the rangers and EMTs say these first responders are vital.

"I think they're doing a really important job," said Sandt.

"They save lives. I think that really sums it up," said Schwartz.