Outside help gives Mass Casualty Training an emergent mood.

Outside help gives Mass Casualty Training an emergent mood.

September 14, 2012

I’m writing this story about outside student and community involvement in August’s Mass Casualty Training this week to appear in Issue 1 of The


Lesli Younger had an important role to play during this last month’s training. She assisted with the setup of an instant command center, which, as an employee for the Office of Information Technology at EWU, she was well equipped to do. The exciting part of her role that day was playing the part of a hostage.

When I met Younger, she was on the second floor of the Computer Engineering Building in a room with computers, the Cheney Police Chief John Hensley and Quincy Burns. She introduced herself as the hostage for the evening’s “incident.”

In the midst of shooting pictures, I saw her again in a meeting room on the third floor. The lights were low and the tables were everywhere. Police had stormed the room and were talking on their radios about how to get her out.

Later that evening, she showed me a nasty welt on her side. During the training, she had been shot with an airsoft gun and Joel Reese, who was playi

ng the role of bad guy, joked with us about the Stockholm Syndrome.

Only in this case, it was reverse Stockholm Syndrome. Instead of Younger attempting to protect her captor, Reese had thrown himself over the top of her to shield her from the pellets.

According to Younger, the participants had been split up into four different groups. One group busted in on them and shouted instructions to Reese. “He came in, he heard the guy’s voice, he said, ‘Throw away your knife, throw away your knife, drop your weapon.’ And as soon as the bad guy dropped his weapon, the … person charging in just started firing.”

After this try, the instructor guided the group out of the room again and practiced it twice more. The group didn’t fire at Reese or Younger again.

“It’s really nice to see the other groups see EWU as a leadership entity. Not just as this is a university with security guards. This is an actual environment where real police professionals are here and they’re setting the bar and actually raising the standards for this kind of work in the community. It’s a real good thing for Eastern to do,” said Younger.

She added that she would get involved with the training again, but that next time, she’ll be wearing layers.