ACADIA NATIONAL PARK – First responders spent Thursday morning prepping for an emergency situation at Acadia National Park with a special training exercise.
“We hope something like this doesn’t happen in the park, but in the event that something like this happens, we’re a little more prepared,” said Christie Anastasia, a public affairs specialist for the park.
While the park is quiet now, the exercise simulates a mass casualty event during the height of tourist season on Park Loop Road.
“Park Loop Road can be really complicated because you’re dealing with a one lane section of road, you’re dealing with a lot of visitors,” said Anastasia.
Park officials said it’s the first training of this magnitude since the 1990’s. The staged multi-vehicle crash was called in to dispatch, so all departments could respond in real time.
Student volunteers from MDI High School and some life-size dolls stood in as victims with varying degrees of injuries.
“They each have a role card and they’re playing their role. So the people playing roles know what they’re doing, but the people responding to the accident don’t know,” said Anastasia.
The park service doesn’t have a helicopter they can dispatch to take people to the hospital. That’s where the Maine Forest Service comes in, bringing their aviation unit for the training exercise and bringing their knowledge of how larger-scale incidents should work.
“We’ve learned a bunch of things here today,” said Lt. Jeffrey Currier, a regional forest ranger. “It went off very, very well and I think people should be reassured that Acadia National Park and the local fire departments and EMS and police agencies, they work really well down here.”
Park officials said last year there were 57 car collisions in Acadia. While none were as serious as the simulation, it’s better safe than sorry.