The University of North Georgia held its Mock Disaster Event on Wednesday, March 8, on the Gainesville campus’ Oakwood Building Parking Lot. The program had the Dahlonega and Gainesville nursing departments work with UNG’s department of public safety and Hall County emergency medical staff to recreate the aftermath of a tornado and to practice aiding victims.
During the event, the parking lot was filled with fallen trees, firetrucks, ambulances and rubble from the collapsed roof of the Oakwood Building. Victims and medical staff were running and screaming, trying to find help for students with severe injuries or who were trapped by trees and rubble. The only sign of the event being staged were the professors watching to make sure no one was actually being injured.
“It’s about preparing for any type of disaster event. This one is a tornado that struck the campus, and there are victims and first responders to see if we are prepared,” said Debra Hildebrant, a victim and junior nursing major.
The medical officials were on the scene taking victims with minor injuries like bruises and scratches to tents for medical assistance. The more extreme cases, such those with open wounds, were taken to the ER located in the Continuing Education Building. Students suffering from shock were treated on the spot.
“The students that participated in this event were physical therapy students, clinical mental health students and nursing students from all of our programs, whether it’s undergraduate or graduate,” said Kim Hudson-Gallogly, the department head of nursing.
This is the largest mock disaster event held by UNG so far, with 300-350 people involved.
“I really like it. I felt like I learned a lot even though I was a victim. You don’t really get that situation when you are the nurse, you are always the one doing the assessing, so I felt like it was a cool learning situation,” junior nursing major Anna Hearn said.
At the end of the event, the UNG department of public safety held a mock press conference announcing that a tornado hit the Gainesville campus at 1 p.m. and 290 people were hurt.