One of the highlights of photographing for Death Valley National Park this year to have the opportunity to document their law enforcement and fire crew.
We received word that there would be a Mass Casualty Incident training session with many of the park staff and law enforcement participating. We didn't need to be asked twice, we jumped at the chance to document it!
Once the exercise commenced I stayed back shooting with a telephoto lens not wanting to get in the way of the emergency workers. Soon I noticed that the participants acting as victims had scripts they were following, some acted with such intense realism that you almost forgot that it was a training exercise. The "victims" were moaning and groaning in pain repeatedly calling out for injured or missing family members, interfering with the emergency responders who were trying to evaluate the situation, acting hysterical or pretending to be in shock, just the way it would be in a real-world situation.
Realizing that I might actually be adding to the realism by inserting myself into the chaos, I broke out the wide angle lens and moved closer to the action. Of course I still kept a respectable distance so everyone could do their jobs.
The result of our time at the exercise was some detailed photography of the staff in action that should be a useful record of the training and possibly used in teaching tools for how to deal with mass casualty scenarios.