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Local students take part in hospital disaster drill in Indio

Kids at a local elementary school got some unexpected hands-on training as part of a disaster drill at JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio Thursday morning.

This seems like a typical school trip for fifth graders from Doctor Carreon Academy, visiting their local hospital, but it takes a different turn with a disaster unfolding.

“A bunch of thoughts were going through my head. I couldn’t focus on one,” Jessica Clark, a fifth grader, said.

The scenario: Multiple students sent to the hospital, exposed to chemicals after an earthquake on campus. All of them going through decontamination tents.

“My shoes are soaking wet, so that was not fun,” Jayanna Capler, a fifth grader, said.

Thankfully, it was only a disaster drill at the hospital involving the students themselves. It’s done every year with other first responders. Many students played victims seeing firsthand how they would be treated.

“There’s like different stations. There’s like doctor, nurses, and like different injuries like them that they can help,” Capler said.

Others relayed information to understand the role of a public information officer.

“It’s kind of like pursuing my dream for acting, so I think this is a good opportunity for me,” Clark said.

The school principal says many of her students are interested in the medical field or becoming first responders.

“This is a good opportunity for them to see every job in those two fields in action,” Tiffany Norton, the principal at Doctor Carreon Academy, said.

Hospital staff says they enjoy including students in their drills giving them a memorable lesson in disaster preparedness.

“We like to practice with kids because they have fun doing it, and we also get to teach them what can happen, and they are prepared as well,” Kimberly Garcia, a resident nurse in the emergency department at JFK Memorial Hospital, said.

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