Piedmont, state, county and city emergency management agencies hold disaster drill
The Piedmont College R.H. Daniel School of Nursing & Health Sciences along with state and area emergency agencies held a simulated fire disaster drill at the college in Demorest Wednesday.
Nursing students from the Demorest and Athens campuses simulated an explosion and fire disaster at Swanson Center for the Performing Arts. Around 100 senior-year nursing students exercised their academic skills as first responders, emergency medical coordinators and field trauma specialists to a variety of medical emergencies and injuries.
Simulated smoke was seen billowing from the Swanson Center by onlookers as another 100 junior-year nursing students portrayed the victims with assistance from the Piedmont Theatre Department creating realistic makeup and pyrotechnics. And mass communications students created a real-life press response covering the disaster.
For the past three years, Assistant Professor of Nursing Karen Greilich has worked closely with other Piedmont departments and local, state, and federal agencies to coordinate the drill, bringing a realistic experience to students and participating agencies.
“If there was a real disaster, this gives our student nurses of all backgrounds the opportunity to be called upon to provide basic first aid and work beyond the capability of their training with professionals in their industry,” she said.
Piedmont Police Chief Jim Andrews said agencies involved in the annual drill included the Cities of Demorest and Cornelia Police and Fire departments, Habersham County Medical Center and EMS, Habersham County Fire Department, Sheriff’s Office, 911/Emergency Management Agency, the Georgia Emergency Management Agency, Homeland Security, Habersham Search and Rescue and the District Two Public Health Administration. A helicopter, drones and rescue dogs also participated in the lifelike drill.
After the drill, all participating nursing students and agencies attend a debriefing where they discussed the experience.
“A lot of it was the interdisciplinary communication that they had not experienced before and found that a very valuable learning experience,” Greilich said.