Disaster drill in Delco tests emergency response

The idea was to see how well first responders deal with a disaster.

David Madden
October 11, 2018 - 1:01 pm

CHESTER, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Emergency crews responded en masse to Talen Energy Stadium in Chester to treat more than 100 burn victims after an explosion. At least, that was the script that played out during a disaster drill  on Thursday.

From a simulated blast and fire, provided by fireworks, to the dead and injured played by Widener nursing students, the idea here was to test how well first responders dealt with a public emergency. Some three-dozen agencies took part, according to Delaware County Emergency Services Director Timothy Boyce.

Widener nursing students act as victims in an emergency drill.
David Madden/KYW Newsradio

"The Widener nursing students, more than 100 strong, are out here to see what it’s like to be a patient,” Boyce said. "And then our hospital systems test our ability to surge capacity during a really traumatic event."

Over a dozen hospitals throughout the tri-state participated so everyone could learn what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

"We’re looking to learn from the very basics of patient care when we’re dealing with more than 100 patients that we don’t neglect any of them,” Boyce added. “And on the other end, strategic aspects of managing such a large scale, multi-state response.”

This is particularly true on the hospital end of the chain, in coping with the sheer number of people needing help.

The one thing they could not plan for was the rain that forced most of the triage work inside the stadium for a time.