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500 Towson University Students Participate In Maryland’s First Earthquake Drill

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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TOWSON, Md. (WJZ)– Preparing for the unimaginable. After last summer’s Mid-Atlantic earthquake, it’s not much of a stretch.

Alex DeMetrick reports that quake prompted Maryland’s first large-scale earthquake drill.

Those who have trained for years to save lives in a disaster gave Towson University nursing students a quick course on life and death.

“OK, what have we got? What have we got?”
“Her pulse is 145. It’s a little high.”
“Be very careful because she’s a little bit wobbly. She is bleeding, she has a head wound.”
“So are you still having trouble breathing?”
“A little bit.”

“We’re used to having only one patient in our clinic settings, whereas here, we’re supposed to get hundreds,” Erin Hand, a Towson university student, said.

It’s a drill whose origins go back to last summer’s 5.8 earthquake that rocked the Washington Monument and brought down bricks and stones from Baltimore to Virginia.

The scenario for the Towson drill is a quake a few points stronger.

“Area hospitals were overloaded and there was a need for an alternate field treatment site,” Col. Hubert Nelson of the Maryland Defense Force said.

“They learn a little bit about natural disaster and emergency preparedness and emergency response in classes, but it’s nothing like being overwhelmed in a chaotic situation,” Dr. Marcie Weinstein, associate dean of Towson University’s College of Health Professions, said.

While no drill can recreate the chaos of the real thing, it does lay the foundation for being ready.

“The importance of communication– you never know what you’re going to get. You never know what’s going on, but you have to be ready and trust your nursing judgment,” Ololade Ikuomoia, a student at Towson University, said.

To treat real wounds when real disaster does happen.

Friday’s drill was larger than most emergency exercises. It involved 500 Towson University students who played the part of injured victims.

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