PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. - It was a chaotic scene Friday morning at the Royal Palm Retirement Centre in Port Charlotte. "I was coming from the laundry room, to go into the kitchen, and it was filled with smoke, and all I could hear was Charlene screaming," Housekeeping Supervisor Jenny Fox said.
A car crashed into the building, sparking a fire in the kitchen and firefighters rushed in to rescue victims.
Luckily, it was only a drill, but a crucial opportunity for both responders and Royal Palm staff to prepare for a real emergency.
This drill was done as realistically as possible. Smoke machines throughout the kitchen created zero visibility so victims and firefighters couldn't see a thing. "Smoke is very thick and that's what really happens in a fire and it happens very quickly," Dee Hawkins, Charlotte County EMS Public Education Coordinator said.
Other than the heat, it was very real, very smoked up, a lot of units, a lot of radio chatter," Firefighter Perry Carter said.
Realistic, right down to victims' injuries. 45 minutes after the call, responders had it wrapped up.
"You don't want your this to be your first time going into a multi- story structure, and it's real, and it puts peoples lives at risk," Carter said.
When it comes to life or death situations - practice makes perfect.