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Sutter Medical Center Holds Drill to Prepare for Mass Casualty Incident

SACRAMENTO -- Chaos surrounded the Sutter Medical Center ambulance bay as dozens of patients were brought into the hospital following a terrorist attack. Fortunately, it was all a drill -- part of the hospital's biannual training on mass casualty events linked to violence.

"Many of the other hospitals are doing the exercise today or this week, they've been doing it. We have been working together as a community for this scenario," said Loni Howard with Sutter Medical Center.

With hospital staff volunteering as patients brought into the facility, the drill on Thursday prepared workers for what might happen if a box truck crashed into a rally outside the state Capitol.

"It is something that they don't do regularly, and we get to practice it, tweak it if we need to, tweak it, make sure things are working, so it is very important that they participate," Howard said.

Sutter Medical Center will handle a large number of patients coming in at one time by separating them by injury type. The green tarp was for cuts and scratches. The yellow tarp was for anyone who had a broken bone or had shrapnel from the incident. The red tarp was for immediate service, anyone who was bleeding out or needed life-saving surgery.

About 20 patients came in throughout the morning with fake injuries that looked very realistic.

"Some of these are direct trauma injuries, like if they got hit by the truck and have broken limbs or internal injuries," Howard said.

Everyone FOX40 spoke with said they don't want a situation like this to ever happen, but with recent events in New York and Las Vegas, it's better for hospitals in Sacramento to be well prepared.

"This is what's been happening around the country, and we have multiple events like this type of thing, so it is a pretty realistic incident," Howard said.