Oconaluftee Students Assist in Emergency Management Disaster Drill
Tags: Health Care | Oconaluftee | US Forest Service

Oconaluftee Students Assist in Emergency Management Disaster Drill

What would happen if a major tornado were to touch down in Cherokee, NC? Power outages, down telephone lines, severe building damage or worse? On Wednesday February 2, 2011, 11 Health Occupations students from the Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center got to find out first hand by assisting in the annual Cherokee Indian Hospital Emergency Management Disaster Drill. On this day, CIH joined thousands of employers around the country as a part of the national Groundhog Day Job Shadow event.

The drill was a simulated tornado hitting major buildings, such as Harrah’s Cherokee Casino, and the surrounding area. Mr. Dwayne Reed from CIH coordinated the event in which students simulated injuries acquired from the tornado or other associated accidents as well as learning about units like the Emergency Room. Often, the tornado or natural disaster is only the first wave. There are other injuries caused by the delayed effects of traffic accidents, power lines, building damage, and more. Mr. Ned Welch, Health Occupations Instructor, shared that “it was really beneficial for the students to see how a hospital functioned when the system got taxed with an overflow of incoming patients. The students benefited by seeing how a professional medical center like CIH was in the time of a crisis, even if it was a drill”.  Oconaluftee student Richard Peak was really excited to volunteer. “One of the roles I was able to play was a motorcycle accident victim- I was brought to the ER with multiple injuries and they had to do rapid diagnosis. It was a good experience”.

Oconaluftee JCCCC partnered with CIH to provide valuable workplace exposure to future medical employees. Holly Krake, Liaison Specialist for Oconaluftee, knows that “opportunities like this allow for classroom text to come alive in a very real way. We send a huge thanks to Mr. Reed and all the staff at CIH for giving our students this opportunity”.   

The Oconaluftee Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center is associated with the National Forests of North Carolina and currently serves 68 students.  The mission of the USDA Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.  The Agency manages 193 million acres of public land, provides assistance to State and private landowners, and maintains the largest forestry research organization in the world. For more information about OJCCCC, visit

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