Madras disaster drill pulls out all the stops

Jefferson Co. preps for the worst, to do their best

Jefferson Co. disaster drill prepares crews

MADRAS, Ore. - A plane crashes into the Jefferson County Jail, bodies are everywhere, and several emergency crews rush to respond. That was the scenario in a disaster drill staged Thursday in Madras.

"I'm actually simulating an airplane coming from the south, and landing in that big field out there and landing into my jail," said Sheriff Jim Adkins, who has been wanting to practice in just such a drill for years.

In the disaster drill, students from Crook County High School played the role of inmates hurt in the crash.

"They gave us a tag, telling us what kind of injuries we have," said senior Samantha Curry. "Mine is a closed fracture to the wrist, then they decorated my wrist all bruised-looking."

For many of the students, it's something they wanted to see first-hand.

"I'm wanting to go into the health care field, and part of our class was that we could come do this," said junior Sierra Smith. "So it's a cool experience to do."

First-responder crews from all over Central Oregon had their assignments in the drill.

"It's a trauma classification system, and we go through and do an initial assessment of everyone and determine the severity of their injuries," said volunteer firefighter Ryan Sholz.

Once the inmates were evaluated, the most severely ones were packed into an ambulance and taken to St. Charles-Madras.

Doctors and nurses took part in the drill so they could learn how to take care of several patients at once.

"Unfortunately, we saw last week what happened in Boston," said St. Charles Madras CEO Jeanie Gentry. "We are smaller than any of those hospitals, but we want to do just as good, if something horrible happens in our community."

That's why several people from all over took part -- to prepare for the worst, all while hoping for the best.

Officials say they already found a few areas to improve upon after the drill. They plan to learn how to set up their emergency operations center faster, and use  different colored tarps to organize the injured patients.

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