Portland drill simulates disaster response

Emergency responders take part in a a large-scale disaster exercise at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Portland, Ore. (KOIN 6 News)
Emergency responders take part in a a large-scale disaster exercise at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center Wednesday, May 22, 2013, in Portland, Ore. (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KON) — In the wake of Oklahoma’s tornado tragedy, emergency responders in Portland took part in a large-scale multiagency disaster exercise at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center Wednesday morning, part of a bigger metro-wide drill designed to simulate how the region would respond to a bioterrorism attack.

Wednesday’s event simulated an active shooter and explosion scenario, Providence said. In it, students from Merlo High School played victims who were brought in by ambulance to the emergency department to be triaged. The patients were dressed in moulage, make-up which simulates various injuries.

The three-day drill, known as the Portland Area Capabilities Exercise (PACE Setter), is the region’s largest preparedness drill since 2007.

As part of the exercise, the city is also testing a new Basic Earthquake Emergency Communications Node (BEECN). A BEECN is a mobile, temporary radio-and-supply “Emergency Information” tent where people could go and report damage or injury in the event that an earthquake knocked out phone service and electricity. The nodes would be equipped with low-tech radio equipment. Forty-eight nodes would be set up throughout the city.

On Wednesday, volunteers with BEECN set up an emergency information tent in The Fields Park in the Pearl District as part of the practice drill.

For more information on PACE Setter, click here.

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