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Smoke and screams filled the air as emergency responders from several regional agencies converged on a field of debris in the Inverness business park near County Line Road and I-25 on Aug. 8.Actors, covered in artificial blood and gory simulated wounds, played the part of dying and disoriented explosion victims so convincingly that passers-by could be forgiven for not realizing the whole thing was fake.For the EMTs involved with the simulated bomb blast, creating a realistic, stressful environment was the whole point.“We’re taking the lessons learned from Boston and applying them here,” said Einar Jensen, South Metro Fire Rescue’s community risk reduction specialist, referring to the bombing at the Boston Marathon in 2013 that killed three and wounded more than 260 people.Firefighters from South Metro and the Cunningham and Franktown Fire Protection Districts teamed with deputies and bomb squad personnel from the Douglas, Jefferson and Arapahoe Counties sheriff’s offices, as well as investigators from the FBI.Victims, many of whom are second-year Rocky Vista University students, lay on the ground or wandered about the parking lot, screaming for help as responders prioritized patients, applied tourniquets, performed emergency surgeries and neutralized the threat of further explosions.“It’s a great way to see what to do and what not to do from the other side,” said William Robinson, an Aurora resident and student at Rocky Vista in Parker.After the scene was cleared, victims were transported to Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree, where staff continued the training exercise, including mock surgeries.Bryan Muscutt, a firefighter with West Metro Fire Rescue, would normally be one of the trainees, but heard about the drill from a friend and volunteered to be a victim. Without a hint of humor, he explained that though the exercise had serious implications, he came for the fun.“It sounded like a blast,” he said.
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