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Musings and Meanderings

Sunday, October 03, 2004

2004 Twin Rivers Council Camporee - Emergency Prepardedness Weekend

Well they were not prepared for us!

It would be mighty helpful if you skimmed this article in the Albany Times Union first before reading on. Don't worry it will open a new window and you can close it and come back to this blog when you are done.

Ok so you get the idea. If you click on the cool logo above you will see some of where we were this weekend. Anyway we took off from the Church at 5:30 on Friday and got there around 7pm. Our Scoutmaster was able to take the temporary troop trailer into the site but Alex and I backpacked the 1/4-mile in or so to where we were camping. We pitched our tents in the dark and I was quite impressed that all the boys were able to cope in the dark, especially my Screaming Eagle patrol as they are the youngest (all are 11 yrs old).

The place was packed. As you can imagine 2000 scouts (this is adults and boys) takes up a bit of space. The Pangaea Puddle is really big, and there was room for the massive tent city we created. Alas there was no way to get up high enough to take a picture of the massive tent city we created as a Council, but rest assured it was a lot of boys.

Saturday dawned bright and cold and after the patrol did its "patrol breakfast" to help complete the requirements to the Second Class Rank, and cleaned up, we headed down to the "puddles" to get ready to go through the drill. We were all given small cards saying what had happened to us, ranging from walking and fine to DEAD. I drew a dead card, which worked out well as I was able to wander around and take some pictures.

We were divided up into groups and each type of casualty took a different Soccer field. I felt this was the first dip into non-realism as the effects of a massive emergency would be scattered throughout a "population". Anyway an airplane few over dropping coupons for McDonalds and this started the drill, as it was supposed to simulate a chemical attack by plane.

Then came the waiting. Information is very sketchy as to what was supposed to happen and what really happened. From this author's perspective, the response time of the admittedly all most all-volunteer forces was pitifully long. As we all lay there dead or dying they took a quite leisurely pace in getting things secured and "investigating" the incident. One pundit posited to me that they would not want their EMS people rushing into a scene because they would not want them affected by whatever had affected the victims. However they did have full hazard gear, so that excuse seems a bit lame.

Anyway about 2 hrs into the performance, someone came through and said the exercise was called off. Apparently things didn't work out the way it was planned. One of the excuses I heard was that they had not expected the number of scouts they got. However the Times Union article I had you read before this clearly stated they knew just how many people they were going to handle.

Frankly I just don't think they had any idea how to handle this type of emergency. It appeared that FEMA was there as well observing, as well as the local congressman, who of course took the opportunity to throw in a campaign speech at the beginning.

So the Disaster Drill was a Disaster!!

The rest of the weekend was mixed. There were a bunch of great activities for the scouts sponsored by the Trailblazer Adventure group the boys were able to partipate (depending on age) in Game Calling, Trapping, Fishing, Archery, BB Gun and Shotgun shooting. However a cold front swept in and it rained a bit during the day. Then just after sundown the real storm hit and cancelled the huge bonfire scheduled for the night. Ah well. We all went to bed early.

Broke camp this morning and we were all home by Noon. Much fun for all, although the actual modus vivendi for the weekend was a bit of a let down.
posted by Mike 9:29 PM


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The musings and meanderings of an overworked and underemployed mind