MacDuffie School Acting Ensemble Assists Bradley Airport Fire Department

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MacDuffie School Acting Ensemble Assists Bradley Airport Fire Department to Simulate a Plane Crash to Keep Their Firefighters and Airline Officials Fully Prepared for Emergencies.

MacDuffie School Acting Ensemble Assists Bradley Airport Fire Department in practice emergency drill.

Tom Durkin, Deputy Fire Chief at Bradley International Airport, contacted MacDuffie’s Art Department Chair, Denise Boutin, last month to support a practice emergency drill along with many other community volunteers. Every three years, the airport engages in drills which simulate plane crashes to keep their firefighters and airline officials fully prepared for emergencies. Several members of the School’s Acting Ensemble volunteered to act as victims, replete with gory wounds and projectiles sticking out of them, as well as playing grieving family members and friends after the staged plane crash had been announced to the public.

Early in the morning, make-up artists adorned them with pale complexions and bruises while they watched EMTs tend to victims strewn about a field of plane parts, upside down cars, and a burning bus. An airline representative handed out background information on their characters. Red Cross workers and Jet Blue representatives helped them through their ordeals and answered questions they had about the accident. Profiles were varied: the nervous mother whose son was coming from Orlando where he had been giving a commencement speech, the siblings who were angry with each other because blaming one another was easier than believing life’s pains are often random and out of our control, and the person sitting, rocking in the corner, shocked and scared. Two of MacDuffie’s actors were able to use personal experiences to challenge and complicate the job of the officials further: sophomore Jake de Hahn was willing to shut off his cochlear implant and sign his needs, while junior Yu Wakayama spoke only Japanese, requiring airline officials to find an interpreter.

Boutin comments that “One Red Cross official told me that this was the most successful drill he had ever attended. The School actors gave them many challenges that had not been anticipated. The MacDuffie Acting Ensemble is grateful that we had the opportunity to be a part of the drill and happy to know that our contribution would help first responders be better prepared for emergencies of this sort in the future.”

The MacDuffie School is a 123-year-old co-educational school for grades six through twelve offering a challenging college preparatory curriculum, as well as comprehensive fine and performing arts and athletic programs. MacDuffie’s mission includes developing intellectual habits of mind, high ethical standards and respect for diversity required for becoming morally responsible and effective individuals in their personal lives, careers and in their communities and beyond. The School is located at 66 School Street, Granby MA. For more information about this international boarding school, please visit http://www.macduffie.org.

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