Disaster can strike at any moment, and for those affected by last month’s
hurricane Sandy, this truth became a real life situation. If hospitals
learned anything from this it’s to always be prepared.
At 8:30 a.m. today, CaroMont Health issued a simulated emergency drill,
Operation Silver Streak. The scenario involved several patients who had
been evacuated from Courtland Terrace due to a fire that arose during
the aftermath of a hurricane which swept through North Carolina, leaving
behind flooding, downed power lines, and other damages. The “victims”
were transported by ambulance to CaroMont Regional Medical Center where
they were met by staff in a staged triage area and treated for smoke inhalation,
and other medical conditions.
Environment of Care Manager at the hospital, John Watts said that in emergency
situations like this, the hospital would immediately alert staff to respond,
and open CaroMont Regional Medical Center Incident Command Center (ICC).
While drills similar to this are mandated, CaroMont understands how critical
they are to ensure the safety of patients, visitors and employees, and
to achieve a high level of preparedness and response.
“Where we’re unique is that we take our planning partnership
and extend it into our community,” said Watts. “CaroMont Health
partners with our fire departments, EMS, police and county emergency management
agencies to not only practice together, but work together to find and
apply solutions early in the preparedness cycle. Through our community
partnerships, we know each other and understand each others’ needs.
This enables us to not only be better prepared, but we can respond quicker,
and recover faster, for the benefit of our community.”
Both Gaston County and Lincoln County Emergency Medical Services and the
City of Gastonia Fire Department participated in the drill to practice
a coordinated response.
“Practice makes perfect. Today’s emergency preparedness exercise
enables our hospital emergency team, and our public safety response partners
to critique our coordinated response, our disaster plans, and assess our
needs for the health and safety of our community” said Watts.
After the drill, the ICC debriefed to determine the drill’s success,
but if graded on the three ‘P’s’—Preparedness,
partnership and practice—CaroMont gets an A plus.