Police, fire rescue drill to prevent mass casualties aboard ships

MIAMI (WSVN) - Miami-Dade Police and Fire Rescue, alongside PortMiami Security, performed a drill to prepare for any possible mass casualty incidents aboard ships.

The drill took place at PortMiami and featured a simulated situation including multiple agencies, real equipment and personnel and mock victims from Barry University. The intention was to prepare for an actual disaster and provide a chance to work on preparedness.

The Mass-Casualty Incident exercise recreated certain scenarios during a boiler explosion aboard a cruise ship in 2003.

“This is a way for us to test the entire system,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Marine Chief Andy Alvarez. “I mean, at the end of the day, the reasoning for this drill more than anything, is to see the collaboration between MDFR, MDPD and PortMiami.”

Alvarez told 7News that he’s been with PortMiami for two years and this is the first time he’s participated in a drill like this.

“We’re only as good as we train, and we have to train consistently,” said Seaport Operations Chief Franklin Roig.

The drill mimicked everything from a real call from dispatch to transporting victims to the hospital.

A big part of the day was testing communication between agencies, hospitals and everyone else involved.

“Everytime there’s an incident, the number one cause of failure is communication,” Alvarez said. “You always hear it.”

Roig said that although the scene looks chaotic, everyone has a job to play.

“Initially, it looks as all incidents of this magnitude. It looks and appears a bit chaotic,” Roig said. “However, once the exercise starts rolling, just like in a real event, everything starts falling into place, and everybody knows exactly what their job is.”

The mock victims are on site to help first responders simulate a real emergency. All the mock victims are studying at Barry University to join the emergency medical services field.

“I’m still observing how they’re triaging, how they’re assessing people, so it’s a good learning experience for everybody on both ends,” said aspiring firefighter Danielle Jimenez.

Fire rescue and police have several drills planned over the next few months, including one simulating a bad accident in the tunnel in April.

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