Mock disaster drill scheduled Saturday

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WAYNESBURG – Southwest Regional Medical Center employees and local emergency responders will take part in a mock disaster drill Saturday.


The drill is being conducted to test evacuation and patient influx procedures at SRMC, as well as the ability of the facility to handle patients contaminated with hazardous materials and preparing emergency responders to effectively respond to the evacuation of the hospital during a natural disaster.


The full scale drill is being conducted in collaboration with multiple partner agencies including Greene County Emergency Management Agency, EMS Southwest, Waynesburg Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company, West Virginia University Medical Center and Metropolitan Medical Response System – PA Region 13


This is the drill scenario: Severe weather has damaged a local structure that contained hazardous chemicals/materials. Hospital employees will act as the patients who have been exposed to several different types of hazardous chemicals. The patients will be transported by Emergency Medical Services personnel to the decontamination area of the hospital, where they will be decontaminated and treated for their simulated injuries.


This exercise coincides with a larger regional exercise and also will test communications and coordination with hospitals in Southwestern Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.


The purpose of this exercise is to provide participants with an opportunity to evaluate current response concepts, plans and capabilities for responding to a disaster that occurs in the community, while identifying possible gaps or areas for potential improvement. The exercise will focus on emergency responder coordination, critical decision making and integration of state and federal and local assets necessary to save lives and protect the public following a major event.


Organizers caution that the event is a significant exercise and the local community can expect to see emergency responders at Southwest Regional Medical Center looking and acting as if it were a true disaster.


Normal hospital emergency department operations and patient care will not be affected by the drill in any way. The drill is scheduled to last between 9 a.m. and noon.


In addition to being an excellent community planning process, the drill also is a requirement by the Joint Commission.


“The goal of this exercise is to enhance working relationships and collaboration between the agencies and organizations involved,” said Mike Onusko, SRMC ethics and corporate compliance officer. “While this is a mock exercise, it’s also a very real test of our ability to respond to an actual disaster. We greatly appreciate the cooperation of everyone involved.”


For more information regarding this exercise, call Onusko at 724-627-2532, or Joy Eggleston, senior public affairs officer, at 724-627-2656.


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