On Friday October 20th the City of Lebanon Fire Department participated in mass casualty training. Planning for this event started over 6 months ago in coordination with local public safety agencies. Randy Waltz of the Boone County Health Department organized the training. The theme was planned as an act of domestic terrorism; causing an explosion with an anhydrous ammonia leak. Mass casualty protocols were implemented while dealing with a working fire, multiple victims, with an active hazardous chemical release.
The following Agencies Participated: Boone County Health Department Boone County EMA Boone County EMS Boone County Sheriff’s Office Boone County 911 Communications Boone County Coroner’s Office Lebanon Police Department Center Township Fire Department City of Lebanon Fire Department Whitestown Fire Department Zionsville Fire Department.
Dispatcher: “Explosion at Co-Alliance, 400 South Coombs Street. Smoke coming from the area. Training exercise only.”
“With the scenario, our dispatch was an explosion,” Lebanon Fire Department Captain Matt Young. “We arrived on scene and we did have some background information as far as, it was a disgruntled employee, a van exploded, it was on fire, and we had a possible hazardous materials leak with anhydrous ammonia.”
“Any time we train on any type of mass casualty incident, that is what we call ‘a low-frequency high-risk operation,’ continued Young. They don’t happen very often, and so we don’t have a lot of experience to draw from, so that always really ramps up these scenarios.”
“Arriving on-scene and seeing dozens of patients standing there waiting to be treated, it really puts the pressure on Incident Commanders, and our responders, as far as triaging those patients, prioritizing patients, and then getting all the resources on-scene that we need to treat everybody.”
“It was great to be able to come together and work seamlessly with all of our mutual aid partners and public safety partners,” Captain Young added. “We pride ourselves on training with mutual aid: fire departments, EMS, and law enforcement. It really pays off when it comes to a large-scale scenario-based training like this, or on the actual incident. When we are able to really operate as one entity, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries, it really pays off.”
“This is a real world scenario that could happen at any time,” closed Captain Young. “To be able to train on this, and to actually put our eyes on potential hazards that we could be facing is very valuable. You get to see it, you get to smell it, you get to do everything would do on a real incident.”