Angela Stanton, RN, had a vision that dates back before the COVID-19 pandemic began. She wanted to bring multiple agencies together and hold a community wide disaster drill. On Friday, April 26, 2024, her vision was realized. 

A simulated mass casualty incident at Murphysboro High School put teams from multiple agencies to the test. Jackson County EMA, Jackson County Ambulance, Jackson County Sheriff's Department, Murphysboro Police and Murphysboro Fire Department were all on scene. Student actors portraying patients were then sent to SIH St. Joseph Memorial Hospital and SIH Memorial Hospital of Carbondale. 

“We wanted it to be a real-life drill and in real life those patients would be going to more than one hospital,” Stanton said.

The simulation also involved school district employees portraying parents who show up to the scene of the incident and both hospitals. Brian Manwaring is a high school teacher and Murphysboro EMA director. He says they intentionally had actors putting employees and hospital workers to the test. 

"Real life, parents are not going to be calm and stand in single file line when they think their kid is hurt," Manwaring said.

All the agencies involved used the exercise to review their best practices and will modify anything necessary to best respond to a real-life disaster. 

Check out media coverage of the disaster drill from The Southern Illinoisan, WSIU Radio, WSIL News 3 and KFVS 12