Responders in South Dakota Put in Hot Seat

The four triage flags blew in the wind as emergency crews ran by.


Temperatures that reached a high of 95 left crews and volunteers vulnerable to the heat. CERT members ran around passing out water supplied by the Salvation Army.

Volunteers appreciated: "A big thing about this whole deal is that we couldn't have done this without the volunteers," Robinson said. "And the biggest thing is that we didn't have anyone hurt doing it."

Those on hand were especially concerned with the health of the volunteer victims, many whom spent more than an hour in direct sunlight. Victim Judy Hauge of Aberdeen said they were kept well hydrated.

"I'm having fun," said Hauge, who played a 21-year-old obese female who is very loud and excited. "This is a serious drill, but you have to make it fun, too."

Hauge was joined by another volunteer, 15-year-old Mindy Peltier of Aberdeen.

Peltier played the role of a 70-year-old female who was feeling faint.

"Everything took a little longer than I thought it would, but it wasn't that bad," Peltier said. "It was hot, but they were giving us plenty of water."

Smith, who volunteered as the public information officer, said slower response times were to be expected.

"Of course they'll be slower because they're not responding red light to siren," he said. "It's not an actual emergency."

Odds of it really happening: As for whether this kind of scenario would ever happen in Aberdeen?

"We all hope nothing like this does," said Capt. Dave McNeil of the Aberdeen Police Department, "but we know from what we've seen that it can. There are a lot of real threats out there. The best thing to do is to prepare and train so we can be assured that if it does happen, we're ready."

Distributed by the Associated Press