April 23, 2014 | A fictional scenario involving armed intruders entering a UAMS research building, then later detonating an explosive that spread possible radiation both tested preparedness of federal, state and local agencies in a large-scale exercise on campus April 22.
To begin the exercise, the UAMS Police Department responded to a call of intruders in the Biomedical Research II building. They were backed up by the Little Rock Police Department’s Special Weapons and Tactical (SWAT) team that entered the building in full gear and armor. Next, a non-lethal “flash bang” grenade was detonated near the building, on the northeast side of campus, simulating an explosion in the building and triggering an emergency response.
An armed FBI team already in the building then lowered an agent and dummy representing a casualty in the incident down the side, where they were met by paramedics in hazardous material suits. Later the exercise shifted to the War Memorial Stadium parking lot for decontamination practice, then transport of “patients” (simulated by airmen from the Little Rock Air Force Base) to area hospitals that were also participating in the event to test their own emergency procedures. This included the UAMS Emergency Department, where several simulated patients were transported, received and treated as part of the drill.
“This is only the fourth time such a large-scale exercise like this has been conducted in the U.S., involving participation by so many agencies — federal, state and local,” said Ron Crane, UAMS emergency preparedness manager. “There are about 1,000 participants in this exercise including all the area hospitals and emergency responders.”
The list of participants included UAMS, the FBI, Department of Energy, Little Rock Air Force Base, Arkansas National Guard and Air National Guard, Arkansas State Police, Arkansas Department of Health, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management, Metropolitan Emergency Medical Services (MEMS), Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and the police, fire and emergency management departments from the cities of Little Rock and North Little Rock, War Memorial Stadium, area hospitals and hazardous materials teams.
A similar, but smaller-scale exercise was planned for April 23 at the same locations.