Disaster drill held at Gordon Hospital
If practice does indeed make perfect then Gordon Hospital is prepared for any emergency.
For several weeks, members of the hospital’s Emergency Operations Committee met to plan a scenario that would test the preparedness of every department within the hospital. In order to accomplish this goal, the committee designed the “disaster” to actually happen at the hospital.
“The scenario we selected included major damage to the PCU (Progressive Care Unit) area of the hospital as the result of tornado activity,” said Courtney Taylor, director of Gordon Hospital’s EMS.
“This scenario, which was chosen due to the likelihood that it could occur, not only tested our ability to respond with damage to our facilities, but it also tested our emergency department’s ability to respond to an influx of patients from such an event.”
Before 7 a.m. on October 23, students from Calhoun High School were being prepared to act as role players for the drill. Many “suffered’ from burn wounds, cuts from broken glass, and injuries caused by flying debris.
At 9 a.m. a tornado watch was issued followed by a tornado warning at 9:15. A watch means that conditions are favorable for the formation of a tornado, while a warning means that a tornado has been spotted by radar or other means.
“This was a very detailed scenario that included major damage to the hospital,” Taylor explained. “The third floor was totally wiped out along with all the supplies that are stored there. The majority of the windows were blown out in PCU and structural damage was also done to that floor also.”
Seven “patients” had to be evacuated to other parts of the hospital. Of those seven, three were bedridden and one was critically injured.
“Not only did they have to continue to be treated for the reasons they were initially admitted, but the ‘patients’also received injuries due to the tornado,” Taylor said. “Once the evacuation was in progress, the staff learned that one patient would not be able to use the elevator due to loss of power or the structure being deemed unsafe.”
The EMS staff also participated in the drill by responding to “ABC Road” near “Chemical Corporation” in reference to reports of multiple injuries due to the severe weather in the area. Five “patients” with injuries ranging from neck and back pain to cuts and abdomen impalement were transported to the Emergency Center. Several other “victims” arrived at the Emergency Center by private vehicle.
Calhoun High School students participating in the drill included Lindsey Banks, Alyssa Crew, Diana Garcia, Evelyn Gonzalez, Danielle Griffin, Ben Jordon, Will Jourdain, Jennifer Kidd, Kendall King, Jessica Naranjo, Ashley Parker, Karishma Patel, Jennifer Peace, Mauricio Penagos, Brett Silvers, and Brett Walraven.
“I thought the drill went very well,” Taylor said. “While there is always room for improvement, everyone involved in the drill proved that Gordon Hospital is ready to respond.”