Last week I had the most amazing time as a role-player in a Disaster Preparedness Drill. It was run at a state military training camp and was held for dozens of first responders, hospitals, and many others.
I signed up not knowing much about what my day was going to look like, I just read that makeup and costumes were provided, and to wear a bathing suit. Turns out, it was one of the best days of my life.
I showed up at 8am, standing around with a group of 60 or so other volunteers. Finally a bus showed up and we were shuffled down to the base in two groups. I was in the second group, so by the time I got to the tent where the role-players were set up, the first group was already sent out.
We were given clothes and makeup and tags saying what our general senario was. I started off with ‘chemical’. I was made up to look like I had burns and sent off with a small group to ‘Decontamination’.
That was the first time we went through. My group showed up and were sent through, not knowing what to do, how much to act, confused and just saying we were fine, maybe a few burns, when people in hazmat suits came over to ask if we were okay. We were sent to the ambulatory tent, as we could walk, and had to strip, go through the ‘decontaminating’ shower, and get medical attention. As we walked back to our home base, we all agreed that next time, we needed to make it way harder for these guys, it was a training after all.
The second time I went through, five of us went up to them coughing. Three collapsed, I had a panic attack, and one kept trying to wake the nonresponsive ones up. It was chaos, just what we wanted.
I went through non-ambulatory that time, strapped onto a stretcher, my clothes cut off, hosed down to decontaminate, wheeled into medical for treatment. It was so much fun.
I went through one more time with just general symptons, trouble breathing, collapsing on someone as they came to help us.
The last time I went through was by far the best for I was given the only prostetic of the day. It was so much fun to see the looks of shock I got when people saw it for the first time. When I got to the start of the simulation, I just started wailing and crying. The people around me were more invested than I had seen them all day, my acting better, all in all, just an intense ride through non-ambulatory! I made them work for it the whole way through, and afterwards, all of the medics wanted to get pictures, saying it was the best they’d seen all day.
That was quite possibly the most fun day I’ve ever had. I would, without a doubt, do that kind of thing again— as long as I got a prostetic!