Albany High students take disastrous exam

Students set up a triage center. / Sean Streicher

Most final exams are taken in a classroom with a pen or pencil, but not the one given at Albany High School Thursday.

Career Technical Agricultural Students were put through a disaster response drill, as their final practical exam.

"We've done various drills throughout the year so this is the first time doing a hazmat drill," said Melinda Suber, the Emergency Services Health Care Teacher.

The scenario? A disgruntled teacher threw a tear gas canister in the middle of a gym class.

Students had to do basic scene survey, identify the substance, set up an instant command system, decontaminate and triage the victims.

Teachers went to extreme lengths to make this as real as possible, using dry ice to simulate smoke and even calling in even calling in local emergency service personal to aid in the situation.

"You want to simulate the stress as much as possible, to make them realize that they need to stay focused, do their job and be able to get it done," said Suber.

The professionals on the scene were impressed with the students response; "they did excellent; they've been getting some good training which is obvious here," said Capt. Eugene Anderson of the Albany Fire Department.

And the students credit their teacher, Ms. Suber, for that training,

The students still need to take a written exam which will lead to some student becoming a certified first responder.

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