Disaster Relief Drills Key Part in Hospital’s Emergency Preparedness Program

Disaster Relief Drills Key Part in Hospital's Emergency Preparedness Program.

January 19, 2016

 No one likes to think about a disaster affecting our area, but being prepared for potential emergencies is critical to ensuring our community’s safety. That’s why, as part of our hospital’s Emergency Preparedness Program, we conduct regular disaster drills in coordination with Joint Base Andrews, the MedStar system, and regional partners.

The simulated emergencies cover a range of scenarios, including dangerous weather events such as tornadoes and earthquakes; contamination from a chemical spill or biohazard; large-scale accidents with injuries like a train derailment or plane crash; or terrorist attack.

Drills are as realistic as possible, with lifelike victims delivered by bus, ambulance, and helicopter. Unpredictable complications are also thrown in to test the team’s response to difficulties like losing phone communication, transportation capabilities, structural damage, crowd control, and family reunification.

Thankfully, actual emergencies are few and far between, but with drills several times each year, our team’s disaster training stays fresh. Drills are also opportunities to evaluate the hospital’s disaster preparedness plans.

“The best thing about a drill is that by going through it, we find out what parts of our plan have vulnerabilities,” said Karol Edwards, RN, MHA, NE-BC, the hospital’s former director of emergency services. “That allows us to strengthen those areas and improve the plan before an emergency strikes.”

After each drill, internal and external evaluators assess performance and create action plans based on lessons learned – so that no matter what happens, we’re ready.

 MSMHC Emergency DrillMSMHC Emergency Drill

We’re ready for an emergency. Are you? Visit ready.gov for information on developing your personal emergency plan, including maintaining accessible health information and extra medication. For more information on our hospital’s emergency preparedness program, call (301) 877-5700.