Multiple Quad City disaster drills test local response to terrorism

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SILVIS, Illinois –

Mock patients from several terrorism drills filled the Emergency Department at Genesis Medical Center on Wednesday, May 10.

“I always call it a controlled chaos,” said Laura Carson, critical care service manager. “We don’t know what’s coming, what we’re going to see, or how many patients we’re going to have.  That’s on top of what’s really happening in the ER at the time.”

Scenarios in East Moline and Davenport kept nearly 200 participants busy at their drills on Wednesday morning.

While first responders know about drilling during a single event, federal authorities wanted to best duplicate the chaos of multiple attacks.

Responders had to secure several areas while keeping the Mississippi River open.

“It is unexpected that something like this might happen, but you never know,” said participant Jasmina Ejupovil.  “Be prepared. I think that’s pretty important.”

Federal observers from the Coast Guard and other agencies will be grading and evaluating the local response.

East Moline police and firefighters got a chance to test out their task force.  To improve the response, officers and first responders now enter a situation at the same time.

“We’re working together, as one, specifically, to be able to save lives when seconds count,” said Trooper Jason Wilson, Illinois State Police.

Scenarios took place at public buildings in East Moline and Davenport.  They also staged another response to drill at Harvester Works in East Moline.

They tried to time out the responses to best simulate what it would be like in real-time.

“You’re going to have different agencies show up at different times, and that’s exactly what we wanted to simulate today,” Trooper Wilson said.

Volunteers, who portrayed victims, were impressed with the realism during each event.

“I think it’s to test everybody in the area to see how they respond in a situation such as this,” Ejupovic said.  “I really think it was a success.”

Back at the hospital, good reviews for a busy emergency room.

“It’s for them to learn on the fly,” Carson concluded.  “It was a good day.”