The Warman Emergency Response Team (WERT) gained valuable experience during a mock mass causality scenario on July 11.
WERT was put in to action during a simulated drug lab explosion which was located at unoccupied house on farm land outside of Warman, along Thompson Road (Range Road 3051) just south of Highway 305.
Randy Meginbir, Warman’s Emergency Measures Organization coordinator and commander of WERT said this mock scenario is important so the team can experience first hand what to do in a mass casualty incident.
It’s also a great opportunity to train with the respective emergency personnel like firefighters and first responders that they’re supposed to assist at the scene.
“A lot of times we don’t get a chance to work together and do this type of training.” Meginbir said. “We’re expected to respond to these calls, but we don’t have a chance to work together and work on protocols and things like that. So this is there to help us try to work together better to get this job done efficiently and save as many lives we can.”
As part of the mock mass casualty incident, before the explosion, there was “a party” and firefighters had to attend to the house while other emergency personnel and WERT helped the injured victims around the yard.
The organizations that were at the scene along with WERT were Warman Fire Rescue, RCMP Explosives Disposal Unit, Saskatoon Police Explosives Disposal Unit, and Warman RCMP.
Not only were there victims injured, but as part of the exercise some firefighters were hurt as well when they entered the house and tripped a hidden device.
Meginbir believes WERT members learned a lot from this exercise and that the tasks they performed are crucial for when they have to respond to real life emergency situations.
“It’s a big learning curve. A lot of these people have never been exposed to this stuff. So we’re teaching them all kinds of skills for emergency response,” he said.
When at an emergency scene, Meginbir added that WERT isn’t trying to be police or firefighters and this training exercise helps the team improve that communication between those different agencies.
“We’re there to just assist them, because in a disaster situation or when there’s mass casualties, people are very quickly overwhelmed. The services, they only have so much manpower and stuff, so anything we can do to help them is a benefit,” Meginber said.
People from the surrounding area of Warman volunteered to be the victims. An agency based out of Regina was hired to apply makeup on the victims to simulate injuries caused by an explosion.
Meginbir said WERT tries organize a disaster or mass casualty training scenario at least twice a year.
“Our focus with the WERT is to help out communities where a tornado hits, or a flood, or a mass disaster of some type that overwhelms the normal authorities or normal agencies within that community. So hopefully we can respond anywhere in the province to help out,” he said.