LAS CRUCES—The Las Cruces High School campus will turn into a major crime scene on Friday, Feb. 2 with injured students, fire and law enforcement officials, and a lot of chaos.  Fortunately, the emergency will be part of a simulated disaster that will test the skills of more than 650 students who are enrolled in the Health & Human Services (HHS) Academy at Las Cruces High School, said Assistant Principal Dana Critchlow.  The mock disaster will begin at approximately 9:45 a.m. during a fictitious football game.

Critchlow said the students have been studying three major areas in the HHS Academy:  medical, law and education.  The disaster will put their knowledge into action as they react to sounds of explosions during a football game. Students will play various roles including those who are injured and wounded, those acting as first-responders, and still others investigating the crime scene, said Guadalupe Castillo who teaches medical terminology and medical sciences. Castillo and English Language Arts teacher Joanna Singer, co-lead teachers in the HHS Academy, are expecting a lot of excitement as the students take on their respective roles in dealing with a large-scale disaster.

“Anyone driving by our campus during the exercise should be aware that this is a mock emergency and that the campus is completely safe,” Critchlow said.

Helping to make the scene feel “real” will be law enforcement, fire officials, Emergency Medical Technicians, and medics from the National Guard, school officials said.

One group of students will be working on helping with triage, locating victims suffering from PTSD, assessing the mental health status of students and providing therapeutic treatment. Castillo said another group will analyze fingerprints and compare them to a list of suspects, while others will be locating witnesses and collecting witness statements.  The final group will be locating, disarming and removing exploded mock ordinances.

—Jo Galvan, chief communications officer, 575.527.5811,