“I always tried to turn every disaster into an opportunity.” - John D. Rockefeller
Stockton firefighter Jeff Smeenk, right, helps “victim” Dan Campbell, a UOP employee, during the Golden Guardian 2007 disaster preparedness drill at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D2X. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17mm. Exposure: f/5.6 @ 1/250, ISO 250)
The Golden Guardian 2007 emergency drill sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security was held at the Univeristy of the Pacific on Wednesday. University students, faculty and employees played the part of the victims of the scenario. The script called for a terrorist explosion to go off during a Pacific basketball game at Spanos Center on the UOP campus in Stockton. There were only about 30-40 volunteers in attendance to represent the hundreds or thousands of potential victims.
UOP student Antonia Stavrianoudak, left, watches over fellow student Gina Verrastro, on ground, as they play victims during the disaster preparedness drill at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D2X. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17mm. Exposure: f/11 @ 1/500, ISO 200)
Some of the volunteers took their parts seriously. For others, it was just too hard for them not to get the giggles while pretending to be panicky and/or injured. It’s understandable, most of us haven’t play-acted since we were kids. Along with the mock groans and cries for help were quips and jokes. One person moaned: “I only have one leg, now I’ll never be able to play soccer!” A young woman cried out “Help, I’ve got ovarian cysts!” Another said, “Send me a hot firefighter!”
UOP security guard Dick Robinson, left, checks out “vicitims” during the disaster preparedness drill at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D2X. Lens: Nikkor 17-35mm @ 17mm. Exposure: f6.3 @ 1/500, ISO 200)
One person taking things seriously, was Pacific security guard Dick Robinson. He helped move people to safety and then spent time calming and comforting victims and ordering the non-injured to help out. With the Stockton fire department arriving about 1/2-hour after the event started, and the police and sheriff’s departments suiting up after that, Robinson was truly a first responder.