Campus emergency responders put to the ultimate test


This year McMaster University hosted The National Conference for Campus Emergency Responders (NCCER) from February 17-20. A decade has passed since McMaster has held this event. The conference, themed The Awakening, brought together response teams from all across Canada who attend medical lectures as well as judged medical simulations.

The conference as a whole enacts a complex storyline. A fictitious laboratory, The Awaken Labs, was created that acted as a sponsor for the event. The theme was based on various epidemic scares that have occurred in the last decade – Ebola, SARS, Swine Flu, H1N1 etc..

The first two days were seemingly straightforward and then Sunday morning the attendees were hit with a twist from Dr. Alexander Ball, professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. Overnight a viral outbreak had erupted on campus and everyone had to be placed into quarantine. Responders needed to respond to “infected patients”, all the while also treating a mass casualty incident in the Student Centre atrium.

There were several members of various improv teams, along with actors from the McMaster and Hamilton community playing different roles. Also on scene were squads of special constables in uniforms as well as scientists in lab coats and gas masks.

This story was also covered by the Hamilton Spectator:

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