A statewide emergency response drill called Vigilant Guard is now underway and will stretch through August 2. The drill is designed to prepare emergency responders for potential disasters – and disasters require victims. To that end, the town of Wilmington is looking for three dozen people to act in a "catastrophic exercise" Friday, July 29.
"About 36 people are needed to spend a day at a shelter, have simulated injuries or illnesses, and other roles," Town Administrative Assistant Jessica DeFrancesco says in an article on the town's website.
Vigilant Guard is a collaborative effort between the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the Vermont National Guard and local municipalities such as Wilmington. According to the Wilmington article, Vigilant Guard has been two years in the planning.
Mark Bosma, of the Vermont Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, says Vigilant Guard is designed to test responders’ abilities "under extreme emergency circumstances."
"The simulation will play out in nearly 50 locations throughout Vermont and includes state agencies, local communities, 16 hospitals, and the Vermont National Guard among many others," Bosma wrote in a news release.
The Wilmington article explains what's needed from the volunteer actors. "Volunteers will be given a role to play and instructed on what needs they should present to responders. They will then play out the scenario in order for evaluators to record how fire, police, rescue, and other responders react. Those observations will then be used to identify gaps and improve responses. Before the event, actors will be given a complete orientation to the incident site and what actions are expected of them."
Six volunteers are needed in the morning, from 8 a.m. until 10:30 a.m. Later in the day, organizers are looking for 30 volunteers to act from 4 p.m. until 6 p.m. Food will be provided.
Wilmington is looking for actors over 18, however 16- and 17-year-olds can participate with parental permission. Younger children can also take part if they are acting as part of a family at a mock shelter. For more information contact Jessica DeFrancesco at 802-464-8591.