There is a strong possibility for a major earthquake to occur in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, the fault line that stretches south from New Madrid, Missouri.*
Sarimar Gascot ’17 is prepared for the disaster.
Along with 40 other Graceland student nurses, Gascot helped with the New Madrid earthquake preparedness event held in the Jackson County, Missouri area on Aug. 24. It was the largest mass care exercise ever conducted by a single jurisdiction. Hundreds of volunteers and scripted “evacuees” practiced for an eventual disaster, in three large area sites.
“I believe (these) students will actually be involved in the real New Madrid event during their working careers. We are excited about Graceland’s student participation in the exercise and appreciate the support,” stated Mark Widner, Deputy Director Jackson County Missouri Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Graceland nursing professor Beverly South contacted the director to offer Graceland nursing students as volunteers for the event. The students worked at the evacuee reception center, triaged incoming evacuees at the greeting station and worked in the medical, mental and public health, and EMS areas.
Sarimar Gascot was happy to participate. She was assigned to the Independence location off Highway 291 and worked with a team at the first aid station.
“This preparation gets me in the system, and I’ll get the experience of teamwork with a large group of professionals. It’s not as crazy as a real disaster would be, but it helps to have some organizational preparedness. We did head-to-toe assessments and made sure that they all had their vaccines,” explained Sarimar. She hopes the experience will help her be even more effective as a registered nurse (RN) when a national disaster strikes.
“I graduated from the Graceland Lamoni campus with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and now I am getting my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) at the Independence campus. The labs in Resch Science and Technology Hall in Lamoni and those in Independence offer current technology, and I’m thankful to be able to experience them both. Just like in Lamoni, my classmates are all working together toward a goal, and the professors are always communicating with us, wanting to help and make sure that we learn everything we need. They always care about you and want you to succeed.”
“Graceland School of Nursing offers a really good program — making sure that we are involved in the community, like the New Madrid exercise that offers real training where I can see how things are coordinated. I just started nursing, and I love it. I’m already looking forward to clinicals. The lecture and lab are tied together, and I see how they help each other,” explained Sarimar.
WHAT IS NEXT?
After graduation, Sarimar has several options.”I want to work for a year as a nurse and then get a master’s in anesthesiology, or maybe get my doctorate with Graceland as a nurse practitioner and have my own practice.”
Graceland School of Nursing lives up to its reputation, and when disaster strikes, Graceland graduates, like Sarimar, will be prepared for the front line of care.