Emergency plane crash drill Part 1….

Dripping blood. Gore. Lacerations. Bruises. Burns. Skin flaps. Massive wounds. Torn clothing. Pale cyanotic skin. CRASH!!!!!!!!!!!

Today was the FAA-mandated triennial drill where a major airline crash was simulated. I volunteered. It was a very interesting and fun day, but also a sobering one! I'm going to share in excruciating detail because, c'mon, that's how I roll.

The day started out at 1:30pm with a bunch of Baptist nursing students and a few UT people meeting up near campus to get on a bus to the staging area for the crash. We sat on the bus as people trickled in until 2:10. They expected 100 but got far less than that. Other buses were also running and the coordinators were expecting around 300+ people. On the bus, they explained the drill itself didn't start until 6pm and it might be very late before we got home. Well, none of the brochures showed this was the case, so this was bad since it meant I would be missing my shift. Another woman raised her hand and said she was still breast-feeding and needed to be home by around 7pm. The bus driver told her she should be dead then. Which sounds horrible, but it meant that if she played a dead person, she'd get done earlier. They assured her they'd work something out for her.

When we got there, we were taken inside to the makeup/auditorium area, where things were somewhat chaotic. Nobody seemed to know what was going on exactly, and finally a bunch of us stood in a line that seemed to be for make-up. They had a minor injury line and major injury line. I figured that if I was going to this much trouble and time, I was going to play it up, so I wanted a major injury with lots of blood and gore. Person after person trickled out with dark black burns, purple bruises, dripping wounds, blood-soaked, torn up, you name it. I didn't want drippiness or anything around my eyes but I was willing to go for anything else (the scenarios were on cards to wear around your neck). I ended up a person with a fractured pelvis and in hypovolemic shock. I had to be made up to look pale/cyanotic around my mouth, and then I eventually ended up getting a deeeeeep full dark purple bruise from shoulder to elbow on my right side. I mostly had to do a lot of acting – it said to act lethargic and complain of being cold/chattering teeth, as well as moaning in pain anytime they touched my stomach or legs. My fake vitals were on the other side. I was a “red” meaning I was severely injured. I believe yellow was mildly injured. They also had some “walking wounded” who were more or less okay, plus a few already dead people. The coordinators were originally concerned that there might not be enough makeup, but since only about 150 people showed up instead of 300, there was plenty. There were about 8 people doing makeup. Anyway.

We all got our makeup on, then sat around for a while. The coordinators played some old videos of re-enacted crash scenes from previous years. Everyone was hanging out casually, covered in blood and gore. It was pretty awesome. Then we were brought Lenny's boxed lunches and I thought it was the funniest thing in the world to watch people nibble on sandwiches and cookies all coated in blood. I took several pictures with my phone and I think Lenny's should do a commercial like “Lenny's is so good, even people with life threatening injuries can enjoy it.” Hmmm. I should go into advertising.

After eating it was time to go to the crash site. We drove to a large field next to the airport……..

Good night, Part 2 comes tomorrow!!

May 07, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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