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Big Sky Medical Center hosts mass casualty exercise

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BIG SKY, Mont. - Bozeman Health Big Sky Medical Center hosted its first-ever mass casualty simulation Wednesday in an effort to improve communication with the Big Sky Fire Department.

The simulation was designed to prepare medical officials for a large-scale emergency.

"Mass casualty incidents are very few and far between, fortunately," Big Sky Fire Department Chief, William Farhat, said. "But it's very important for us to practice this plan."

According to Bozeman Health strategist Jacy Conradt, planning meetings for the simulation began in March and was completely funded by donors.

More than a dozen people volunteered to act as crash victims from a bus accident. The volunteers were assigned a variety of injuries, ranging in severity.

During the simulation, volunteers wore laminated tags that detailed their visible symptoms, pulse, blood pressure and physical state.

Once members of the fire department attended to the victims at the scene of the crash, they were taken inside the hospital.

"If it's set up correctly, it should feel real," Big Sky Deputy Fire Chief Greg Megaard said. "You have patients that are upset, patients that are screaming for help. All the participants did a great job in facilitating that."

After the simulation, Conradt said emergency crews and hospital staff discussed what they learned to improve the area's emergency response plan.

Simulation participant Amanda Muller told NBC Montana the exercise made her feel more confident in the area's emergency response plans.

"It's very helpful as a member of this community," Muller said. "Just puts peace of mind whenever you're doing anything."

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