The halls of Monarch High School in Coconut Creek turned into makeshift emergency rooms Saturday, as part of an annual regional community response disaster drill.
The large-scale exercise is designed to test the readiness of volunteers who would be activated in case of a disaster, such as a hurricane.
"Anytime a disaster happens, the first responders, the police, the fire and the EMS personnel are easily overwhelmed and what’s going to happen is people are going to get involved, and if they have the right training, they can be of huge help to us,” said Coconut Creek Fire Rescue Chief Steven Pollio.
Multiple police and fire agencies in South Florida teamed up to teach volunteers from organizations, such as the explorers and the Community Emergency Response Team, how to prepare for the worst. Drills included operating fire hoses and treating fake victims.
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"They helped me get on a stretch board, and they carried me out to a tent and they let me get healed," said 11-year-old volunteer Samantha Bigot, who played a victim.
More than 200 students played victims by faking injuries, and instructors turned on the pressure.
"It has taught me that teamwork is a very important thing because you can't just have one person come and help this many people, ’cause if it’s a whole school you’re going to need a huge team,” said 11-year-old volunteer Madison Huneke.
The city of Coconut Creek and the Broward County Citizen Corps Council hosted this year's event.
"You can't be totally prepared for any disaster, but you just have to know to be calm and be safe just to know that these people are going to help you,” added Huneke.