Disaster Drill at Piedmont College
28 dead and dozens more injured…intentionally. On March 27, 2019, the RH Daniel school of Nursing and Health Sciences held its annual “Disaster Drill”. This years event took place both in and all around the Swanson Center for Performing Arts and Communications, with junior and senior nursing majors having to treat victims of the accident and categorize them into different categories based on the severity of their injuries or death. Professor John Spiegel of the theater department explained that the theme of each years disaster varies. In the past, nursing students have had to deal with a small plane crash, a boiler explosion and even a rally with a bombing. This years theme was a building fire followed by an explosion that left carnage in every corner and crevice of the Swanson Center.
Such a large production took immense planning and cooperation from the nursing, theater, and mass communication departments. In the interview with Prof. Spiegel he stated, “The planning for this drill begins almost a whole year before it happens.” Multiple emergency services were on sight to add to the reality of this simulation including the Demorest fire department, Habersham Sherrif’s Department, the Habersham County Coroner, Piedmont College campus police and even a helicopter from AirLife Georgia.
Both nursing students and the actors who played victims said they enjoyed the experience. “It was really good to be apart of something like this and to have different situations present with the victims, some having neurological issues and others having major injuries.” said one nursing student in the midst of servicing a mentally strained “victim”. With each actor having a different injury to perform, it made for an interesting scene inside and out. An actor named Al explained to how they were supposed to play their roles. “We were given makeup and injuries with a note card that explains what is wrong with us. After that we just act out what is on the card and from there it is on the nursing students to find and treat us.” After the building was cleared, media members were addressed by the Habersham Sheriff’s Department public information officer Rob Moore as well as Jim Andrews, the chief of police at Piedmont College.