CERTs Participate in SMART Train Disaster Simulation

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On April 26, multiple agencies in Marin County participated in a simulated SMART train multiple patient management drill. The incident simulated a train hitting a bus and took place at McGinnis Park in San Rafael. A dozen agencies were involved, including fire departments, hospitals, and more.

Battalion Chief Michael St. John, from the Mill Valley Fire Department, put out a call to CERT graduates to volunteer as victims in the drill. This was a great opportunity to participate in a simulation with the professional first responders. There were two simulations, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. 10-12 CERTs were placed in the bus, which was on its side. The SMART train had 25 victims, all of whom were volunteer SMART employees. The challenge for the first responders were to manage the large amount of patients, and learn how to access the train and turn it off.

Photos below are of the CERT bus simulation but KPIX 5 did a story on the drill with footage within the SMART train at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dMvi9p0pcH4.

When we arrived at McGinnis park, we found a bus on its side and the train nearby on the tracks. Battalion Chief St. John is standing by the bus.

Michael St. John and bus

Our first stop was the moulage area, which is applying make-up to simulate injuries. Each victim was given a card explaining our injuries and how to act. The card went into our pockets as the responders needed to assess us by asking questions and observations.

Next step was an overview of the simulation and our roles with our Safety Officer.

A bus on its side is disorienting! The mannequin on the floor is part of the simulation. One of the CERTs will be performing CPR on it when the first responders arrive.

We climbed in. Some of the windows were broken so it was a bit treacherous. There were sharp edges to avoid. We figured out where to position ourselves. As always, safety was the priority. Our safety officer kept an eye on us and let us know when the simulation began.

Victims are placed in bus

There was a variety of injuries and we took photos before the simulation began!

The simulation begins! We start moaning, yelling out and some screaming. While it was all fake, it is still an unnerving experience. The firefighters walked one victim out of the bus but the rest were put on backboards and sent out the skylight. It took about 20 minutes to evacuate the whole bus.

Firefighters respond

Each victim was then taken to a medical treatment area for triage.

Medical triage

Once out of the bus, we could see the response to the event was huge.

The response on the train first involved how to get into the train!

After triage, many were put in ambulances and driven around the parking lot. Some with immediate status were taken to the nearby airport. Helicopters flew in for simulated transport. You can see a short video of the helicopters on Twitter here.

This was a great opportunity for CERTs to experience a full scale simulation, Incident Command, briefings, security officer roles, triage, etc.



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