Barton, City collaborate to conduct mass casualty incident exercise

Staff Report

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Barton Health, in collaboration with the City of South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue and the California Tahoe Emergency Services Operations Authority “Cal Tahoe” Joint Powers Authority, conducted a Mass Casualty Incident Exercise on Wednesday, May 18.

The purpose of an MCI exercise is to exercise emergency and healthcare preparedness in the event of a large-scale emergency, ensuring the ongoing health and safety of the Lake Tahoe community.

The MCI exercise simulated a small stage structure collapse and subsequent stampede event at a local concert venue.

“Much like flexing a muscle improves strength, first-responders including police, fire teams, emergency medical services, and healthcare workers practice emergency response to refine and improve emergency preparedness; this is especially important in a vibrant and active community like Lake Tahoe,” said April Boyde, emergency manager for Barton Health in a press release. “By enacting full-scale realistic scenarios, we have the opportunity to collaborate with partner response teams in a controlled environment, assess outcomes, and improve our existing plans if necessary. Crisis planning is one of the many ways we consistently work to preserve the health of our population.”

The MCI exercise simulated a small stage structure collapse and subsequent stampede event at a local concert venue, in which 50 actors required emergency triage. Law enforcement, fire teams, and healthcare workers were involved in the response; Barton’s Emergency Department performed advanced medical care processes for all 50 actors.

Past MCI exercises have included an Active Shooter Drill at Lake Tahoe High School, and a Wildfire Evacuation Drill at Barton Memorial Hospital in May 2021, which proved to be a timely preparedness exercise for the Caldor Fire event later that year.

Barton Memorial Hospital is a verified Level III Trauma Center, a critical access point where patients will receive an increase in depth and speed of care. Unlike other hospital facilities, trauma centers guarantee the resources for trauma care and the immediate availability of emergency medicine physicians, surgeons, nurses, lab and x-ray technicians, and life support equipment 24-hours a day. Trauma centers must meet, at a minimum, more than 160 different essential criteria established by the Committee on Trauma of the American College of Surgeons.

Additional information on emergency/disaster information, including emergency evacuation plan maps and Firewise tips, can be found at the city of South lake Tahoe’s website, Learn more about community healthcare and wellness at

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