Keller conducts annual disaster, mass casualty training exercise
Story and photos by Kathy Eastwood
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Jan. 17, 2013) — The priority of a hospital is not just the caring and healing of patients, but ensuring their overall safety as well. What will the hospital staff do if the unexpected happens? If there is an active shooter incident, a bomb threat or a major accident, can the staff cope with a massive influx of injured patients?
Keller Army Community Hospital prepared for such an emergency with an annual disaster training event Jan. 10. Two types of training were initiated, one was a round robin classroom event at the hospital and the other was a hands-on initiative at the Youth Services Center.
The round robin training is familiarization training for hospital staff in a mass casualty event with activities and knowledge of 11 emergency codes.
Hospital staff had the option of utilizing the round robin training or participating in a competition in what KACH called the Disaster Olympix.
Sixty-four employees opted for the Disaster Olympix. The Disaster Olympix consisted of eight personnel groups who competed in eight events to test their knowledge and skills in disaster and emergency code operations.
"With the emergency operation procedures, we break events down to four stations," Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Dorman, primary care noncommissioned officer-in-charge, said. "In a real situation, someone will call a color code over the loud speaker. There will be people who are assigned to a particular code and will immediately go to their predetermined destination. A code blue for example means certain staff members will go to the emergency room. A code blue indicates a cardiac arrest."
Other codes include pink, which indicates infant child abduction, black is a bomb threat, green is a combative person and white indicates an armed intruder.
Dorman managed the triage care station where staff members practiced the correct triage format, which is dividing patients in an emergency setting by prioritizing their injuries into immediate care, delayed or minimal.
Participants handled dummies representing various types of injuries such as broken bones, abdomen lacerations and head injuries. They practiced determining the severity of injuries and placing the patient onto a gurney in the proper way without causing more injuries to the patient or to themselves.
Four Keller Army Community Hospital staffers engage in triage training during the Disaster Olympix Jan. 10 at the Youth Services building. The disaster training is an annual event that prepares employees on how to react in emergencies, such as active shooter, bomb threats or mass casualties. Generally, the disaster training is classroom training, but for the first time the event allowed staff to engage in hands-on training and quizzes in television game show format.
Other stations had question and answer sessions formulated into games.
In a "Jeopardy"-type game, one question asked about the two locations for decontamination in case of a chemical or radioactive incident. In a pharmacy game, participants answered questions such as, what is the proper way of disposing of batteries?
"The (emergency operation procedure) is just for MEDDAC and this is the first time we have done the Disaster Olympix," Britney Walker, KACH public affairs officer, said. "Typically we utilize the round robin classroom, but we made it interactive and a hands-on event."
Joe Pfanzelter, KACH emergency management director, wanted the training to be hands-on and engaging for employees.
"I came up with the idea (of the Disaster Olympix) when I attended a joint disaster conference at a civilian hospital," Pfanzelter said. "I liked the idea because Disaster Olympix sounded more fun. My major goal is to get rid of the round robin event and just make it disaster training, but will continue with both (for now.)"
Izana Phillips from the human resources division also participated in the Disaster Olympix, which she preferred more to attending classes.
"I'm learning a lot, I think we are learning without realizing it," Phillips said. "I work in human resources and don't get the chance for hands-on training, and this is so much fun."