goofing off

Preparing for airport disasters

On May 29, I volunteered to be an airplane disaster drill victim at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport. This full-scale exercise, federally required every three years, gives local emergency agencies experience working together during a mass casualty incident. Our drill simulated the crash of a plane that was carrying 70 passengers and crew.

Arriving at about 6 a.m. in the morning, volunteers were given cards that specified their injuries and their seat numbers on the doomed plane.

Professional makeup artists used liquid latex, rubber wounds, toilet paper and fake blood to create realistic looking injuries that ranged from burns to long bone trauma to severe head wounds.

Once the wounds were created, we gathered outside where organizers sprayed us with fake soot and sprinkled us with powdery Fuller’s earth to make us look that much more realistic.

Before they drove us to the accident site near a runway and placed us around a field, organizers told us not to move from our assigned positions until after there were three explosions. They also noted that if any of us got into a real emergency situation, our code word to raise an alarm was “raison toast.”

American Red Cross volunteers provided coffee and snacks at the airport disaster drill.
American Red Cross volunteers provided coffee and snacks at the staging area before the airport disaster drill.
Disaster drill volunteer victim, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport
I liked the contrast between Sharon’s happy/pretty face on the back of her phone and her faux wounded face.
Facial burn victim, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster drill
This faux facial burn victim had to stop her realistic sobbing with her dead baby (doll) at the disaster site because the volunteer next to her started crying because it seemed so real.
Gory body parts, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster drill
Luggage, clothing, dummies portraying dead bodies and these random body parts were scattered in the grass at the disaster site to convey how a real disaster can look.
Fake blood for wounds at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster drill
After us victims were strategically placed in the field of the disaster site, one of the makeup artists when around and squirted fake blood on our wounds.
Long bone trauma with fake blood, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster drill
Even though we were supposed to act as realistically as possible, most of us were taking photos of the scene and each other with our smart phones. This was my impressively realistic leg wound just covered with a generous helping of fake blood.
Smoke and explosion, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster drill
After the first explosion, fire trucks and ambulances rushed to the scene. The plane in this photograph was just a prop.
Black smoke rising from an explosion, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster drill
Black smoke rising from an explosion during the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster drill.
Film crews capture firemen as they triage victims at the Savannah-Hilton Head Airport disaster drill on May 29, 2014.
Film crews capture firemen as they triaged victims. The firemen placed colored flags – green (low priority injuries), yellow (injuries that need to be addressed within a few hours), red (demands immediate attention) and black (deceased) – next to victims to organize the order that medical care was provided.
Firemen remove a volunteer victim from the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster site
Firemen remove a volunteer victim from the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster site.
Paramedics place volunteer victim in ambulance, Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster site
Paramedics placed me in an ambulance at the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport disaster site.

About Kristine K. Stevens

Book Cover200Kristine is the author of "If Your Dream Doesn't Scare You, It Isn't Big Enough: A Solo Journey Around the World." This nonfiction book tells the story of how she sold her house, quit her job and traveled around the world.

Kirkus Book Review: "... Stevens makes a friendly, relatable narrator ... plenty of colorful stories to make this an enjoyable, inspiring read... An often sweet memoir about finding oneself in many different places."


Next travel book to spotlight Iceland

25817249396_f6c787ef9f_z Kristine broke free from a desk job once again, and this time ended up volunteering in the far corners of Iceland!

Details about the release of this book will be posted on Facebook.