And lest you think I’m being judgemental, I don’t think our joint would do any better:
If the calamity sounds unfamiliar, that is because it was fiction: a massive and intricate role-play designed to reveal any cracks in the preparations of the nearby Royal Adelaide Hospital for a disaster – specifically one in which people were contaminated by chemical, biological or radiological fallout.
Pretty normal, except that the test designers did more with their victims than have them sit on the ground and wait for the school bus:
But as the actors in the so-called Exercise Supreme Truth ran around wildly, demanding medical attention patiently or aggressively in line with instructions on their individual scenario cards, it was not chinks in the hospital’s emergency armour that were exposed so much as gaping chasms…..
“Some were instructed to refuse decontamination. Another had to drive onto the footpath with a dead contaminated friend in the back. We told seven people, ‘without breaking anything, we want you to see if you can get into the hospital’. Within 15 minutes they all got in … All the focus seems to be on police and security but if there is a mass casualty incident where do [authorities] think all the people are going to end up?”
The hospital’s plan demands immediate lockdown, with entry via a single point which is strictly policed. Amid the chaos of Supreme Truth, that proved unenforceable and contaminated patients repeatedly entered “clean” areas…..
And that’s without a real disaster. We’ve been luck so far, as regards a big intentional BW or radiological mass casualty, and I pray our luck holds out.