If you haven't read my last post yet, take a looksy! It's Part I of my awesome experience taking part in the "It's Hotter in Cleveland" disaster drill exercise this summer executed by over 51 local, state, & federal agencies.
I'm thrilled and honored I was given the opportunity to join in on the operation.
Onto the afternoon session.....with pyrotechnics!
The next session moved outside of the Port of Cleveland warehouse. This DRILL scenario had a car drive by throwing a bomb-type device out the window causing many casualties.
I seem to meet my college buddies at the strangest places. Sure enough, not realizing I'd see him, I ran into a college friend of mine, Patrick Cusick, who is with the Cleveland Department of Public Health and Office of Emergency Preparedness. He too was extremely helpful in explaining the who, what, why, where, when, and how of this day.
And icing on the cake, Pat and I got to role play victims of the car bombing. All in a day's work as an assignment editor!
After the explosive was thrown from the car, there was a short chase, the suspect crashed and police immediately took control of the scene. Police cautiously checked on the status of the suspect. Once the suspect was no longer a threat, other agencies were allowed on site. The bomb squad was needed to make sure there were no more live, active devices in the area. Evidence started being catalogued and gathered. Emergency personnel started treating the injured patients while a team from Dr. Gilson's office (The Medical Examiner) arrived to assess the deceased victims.
It was GREAT seeing members of The Medical Examiner's Office I mostly speak with by phone or email: Dr. Thomas P. Gilson M.D., Hugh Shannon, and Powell Caesar. They are all such wonderful people!
I role played dead person #6 = a 38-year-old female with a depressed skull, multiple fractures and hemorrhages. Let me tell you, laying on the gravel on a hot Cleveland day also gave me perspective of the conditions these folks work in day in and day out. My co-workers were STILL picking gravel out of my hair at work. God love Robin Swoboda for being honest telling me I had flat and gravel hair!
At the end of the exercise, a wrap up mock press conference was held where Dr. Gilson and members of the Cleveland Police gave a statement and answered questions about the 'incident.'
At the very end we were given the grand tour of the Cleveland Police Mobile Command Unit. Very cool, exciting, and so interesting to see what they have in the field during major breaking news situations.
All in all, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I will never, ever forget. What I learned will definitely help me execute aspects of my job much better while making so many wonderful contacts. In my business, especially with what I do, you must reach out to others constantly to gather up-to-the-minute information on current news stories. It helps when the lines of communication are always open and the relationships strong!
I'm no expert but everything I viewed during the 'It's Hotter in Cleveland' disaster drill looked like it went off without a hitch. Everyone really knew their role and appeared to execute their job as expected.
I apologize in advance for anyone I leave out of my acknowledgements. A big thank you to Laurie Turner, Emergency Manager with the VA, and Marek Owca from MetroHealth Medical Center, who were of great assistance and the leaders in this drill.
It was also great seeing: Jim Armstrong, Adam Gercak, Kevin Sur, Larry Gray, Jim Kopniske, Shelley Shockley, and Melanie Fisher....