JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A mass casualty exercise took place in Onslow County on Tuesday. It’s a way to keep our first responders prepared.  

It’s something they hope never happens but it’s something they should always be prepared for. Dozens of first responders gathered for this exercise to make sure they are always ready.  

“We have to take this very serious, it’s a very serious scenario that we’ve got going on,” said Amanda Hierl, a district chief for Onslow County EMS. “You just never know when it’s going to happen. We live in a military town we have to be careful and be ready for what comes to us.”

The day started with a fake explosion, which resulted in a simulation of multiple casualties and wounded people that first responders had to help. Onslow County EMS, the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Jacksonville Police and Jacksonville Fire & Emergency Services all participated in the exercise.  

They had to work together to treat injuries, decide where the wounded needed to go next and how they would get there. 

“Some of the key goals are about the communications between all of the entities together, it’s also about them gelling together in the incident command system working together, making sure that they are triaged and getting people transported,” said Onslow County Emergency Services Director, Norman Bryson. 

This is a two-phase exercise, with the next part happening at Onslow Memorial Hospital and Naval Medical Center. The second part will be on April 27.