BYU EMS runs mock mass casualty incident at Provo MTC

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Student actors are instructed just before the mock mass casualty incident starts. (Hannah Miner)

“We need oxygen over here.” “Red coming through.” “Stairs.”

BYU EMT responders shouted all these phrases at the Provo Missionary Training Center Saturday evening as BYU Emergency Medical Services held its semester mock mass casualty incident.

The mock mass casualty event, or MMCI, simulated an earthquake to prepare all first responders for such an event.

Dalton Smith with BYU EMS said the event prepares anyone and everyone for potential future disaster.

“We simulate everything from natural disasters to shootings to bombed terrorist attacks,” Smith said. “Every semester we do something different. This year we are doing an earthquake.”

Denyce Hawk, a junior studying theatre arts studies, did special effects and makeup for the event.

A student applies hair and makeup before the event to mock injuries that would happen in an earthquake. (Kristen Hollingshaus)

“This is my fourth time working the event,” Hawk said. “I think this really helps people and first responders to step away from the hypothetical.”

According to Hawk, the event is helpful to first responders because it’s visual and involves situations that really do happen.

The location is not announced until the event starts. This year, the incident happened in the MTC tunnels. To access the tunnels, all personnel went to the MTC parking garage and then down a ladder to the basement that handles MTC heating.

Students from BYU’s College of Nursing are highly involved in the MMCI event, according to BYU nursing student Jessica Hunt.

“Most of the student actors here are nursing or theater students,” Hunt said. “Some nursing students are actual responders as well.”

Each student actor is given a wristband that describes their injury and how to behave during the mock mass casualty incident. (Hannah Miner)

According to Hunt, nursing and theater students receive an email before the event with a link to sign up to be an injury actor. There were about 120 different injury slots available for students.

“There are crushed arms and hands, exposed jawlines, broken bones, spinal injuries, broke ribs and even severed fingers,” Hunt said. “After we signed up for our injury, we had to do research on the symptoms of our injury and then act it out at the MMCI.”

Nursing student Katie Cox said the responders receive a text when the scenario is ready and come to the scene.

“The responders are timed and given a grade on how well they treat patients and what they are doing the entire time,” Cox said. “The event is timed as well, so it’s very important that they do everything right.”

According to Cox, the responders are also graded on the efficiency of their services and the “death toll” at the end of the simulation.

During the entire simulation, professors walked through the tunnels to observe the work of their students and employees.

A first responder tends to a student acting to be in distress during the mock mass casualty incident. (Hannah Miner)

“This event is taken very seriously and is necessary to prepare for things that really could happen to anyone,” Smith said.

After the simulation ran through a first time, there was a break and the simulation ran a second time.

According to BYU EMS, the MMCI will continue every semester to prepare responders.

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