Mass casualty drill set for Saturday

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A constant wail of sirens residents might hear west of Craig Saturday morning shouldn't necessarily be cause for panic.

Some 13 area law enforcement, fire and medical agencies will join efforts that morning in a coordinated countywide mass casualty disaster drill.

The Moffat County EMS Council has organized the event -- including on-scene area media covering the story -- which kicks off with a mock bus crash between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Moffat County Road 64 west, which will be blocked off just prior to the drill.

The Colorado State Patrol is scheduled to respond first to the scene of the overturned bus, followed by ambulance and fire crews, which will set up a triage station.

The conditions of about 22 mock victims will be assessed, while some will be transported to The Memorial Hospital, where doctors and nurses will cope with the rush of patients.

Participating agencies include TMH, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, the Colorado State Patrol-Craig, Maybell and Baggs, Wyo., ambulance services, Craig Police Department, Moffat County Sheriff's Department, the Craig, Maybell and Artesia fire departments, Red Cross and Advocates-Crisis Support Services.

Roy Mason, Craig fire chief, said the event has been planned over nine months and will be the largest mock disaster in which he has participated.

"We need to know each other's faces and the capabilities of everyone who would be responding to a disaster," Mason said. "We'll try to improve on what we're doing right and also see what our problems are."

State troopers will share command at the scene along with Craig fire and ambulance, he said.

Mason said included in a command structure's responsibilities under a disaster scenario will be the selection of a public information officer -- a task to be handled by the State Patrol Saturday.

"It's important for people to know what's going on," he said.

Paul Shockley can be reached at 824-7031 or at pshockley@craigdailypress.com.

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