South Bay emergency responders conduct rave drill

October 23, 2012 6:50:12 PM PDT
Raves can be as dangerous for young people as they are fun. Overdoses are not uncommon at these giant parties. But after a full-scale drill in Santa Clara County Tuesday, emergency medical workers are better prepared for such emergencies.

Loud music and dramatic lighting were all props in Tuesday's rave drill where the young people pretended to be drunk or on drugs, "There is a lot of alcohol, there's a lot of drugs," said Santa Clara County EMS Josh Davies. "There's generally no air conditioning, and that combination means that they can become quickly dehydrated. They need to be assessed and many go to the hospital."

It's what happened two years ago at the Cow Palace in San Francisco. Thousands of people packed that venue. Seventeen people were rushed to area hospitals.

Tuesday's drill was an effective way for Santa Clara County emergency medical responders to practice their skills during any major event such as a mass shooting or an earthquake.

"We have multiple fire agencies, we have multiple EMS and ambulance providers and one of the biggest challenges is working together," said Santa Clara County EMS Michael Petrie. "How do we command a scene together and how do we communicate via radio together." During an incident like this drill, they share the same radio frequency.

Some of the young people at the drill were high school students enrolled in emergency medical services classes. Each one was given a colored-coded tag, red meaning they need immediate help, "We quickly assess each one, put a colored tag on them and that helps us know how severe they are," Davies said.

Jeffrey Cortez was still in character when ABC7 News talked to him. He's with the SCC Medical Volunteers for Disaster Response Program, "Training is the biggest step we can take to really build ourselves to what's to come," Cortez said.

This exercise will continue for two more days, with 100 or more first responders participating each day.