Park rangers, first responders hold snake bite training exercise at Sandy Bottom Nature Park

Posted at 5:41 PM, Jun 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-15 17:42:23-04

HAMPTON, Va. - Officials with Hampton Fire-Rescue and Sandy Bottom Nature Park rangers held a training exercise Friday designed to help someone in an unfortunate situation.

The exercise simulated what people should do in the case they're bitten by a snake, training them on locating, treating and rescuing someone suffering from a venomous rattlesnake bite.

"The scenario that we did today was that we actually had the patient in the far corner of the park," said Arthur Mertz, Chief Park Ranger of Sandy Bottom Nature Park.  "If you train the worst case scenarios, you will be ready for it when it really does happen."

Officials had the fake patient stationed in a difficult to reach position. In order to get to the victim, they had to maneuver through tall grass, go through a drainage ditch, put a ladder across the ditch, put the patient through a stokes basket and move her across the ladder for her safety as well as their own.

Lt. Paul Hood with Hampton Fire-Rescue said the main thing victims should know is to remain calm so they can be able to communicate with first responders.

"It's not every day you get a snake bite, so the importance is when it does occur, that we are ready to assist you," he said. "We want to educate the public that it is going to take us a while to get there, but if we are training to make this happen and when it does happen, we are ready for it."

Venomous snakes have been spotted in the park, but there has never been a report of a bite on the park's premises.

Officials want to remind you if you do see a snake, move away slowly. Although these snakes typically wish to avoid humans as much as we wish to avoid them, they will strike if provoked or threatened.