PA program hosts mock mass casualty incident on campus

“Sheriff’s Office — hands up!” and “Are you hurt?” were phrases heard on June 8, during the fifth annual Mock Mass Casualty Incident held by Campbell University’s physician assistant program.

This year’s scenario was an active shooter in Maddox Hall where 61 people were injured, including 43 with gunshot wounds.

“Providing our students this scenario allows them to think on their feet when they get out there as practitioners,” said Dr. Pete Fenn, faculty incident commander, director of professional and programmatic development and associate professor of physician assistant practice. “In preparing our students to face a situation like this as professionals, we are doing a service both for them and for the community.”

This year’s event had a few new twists.

“We wanted to change it up and bring in elements not previously used during the incident,” said Deanna Reichert, PA student, student incident planner and student incident commander. “We moved the primary location of the incident to main campus in and behind Maddox Hall and used Levine and Smith Halls on the health sciences campus as simulated hospitals.”

Another change included adding personal vehicle transportation, which would be an element of a true large scale casualty event. This added complexity not only for our students, but for our community partners such as law enforcement, emergency services and local hospitals.

This year’s event had 200 participants, including children. “It’s important to make this incident as true to life as possible, so we have people of all ages participate and assign them various medical conditions in addition to what happens to them during the incident,” said Reichert.

Fenn continued, “This event incorporates service training and disaster preparedness which will enhance students’ ability to better serve their communities during their professional career. The event also brings together community support, like emergency responders and hospital staff, so students have the opportunity to work with these groups who are crucial elements in a mass casualty incident.”

This past weekend was also national Wear Orange Weekend to raise awareness about gun violence. “It was very timely to have a mock gun violence event this weekend,” said Betty Lynne W. Johnson, chair and program director for Physician Assistant Practice. “Orange is our Campbell color, but we wear it today not only to show pride in our University, but in support of raising awareness about gun violence.” Johnson included the victims of gun violence in a prayer offered at the beginning of the drill. 

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