Last month, the U-M Health System put its staff to the test, conducting a region-wide disaster exercise involving multiple departments and procedures, as well as 34 other hospitals in Washtenaw, Wayne and Monroe counties. Hospitals are required by the Joint Commission to conduct two exercises (or real events) annually, and off-site buildings and clinics are required to conduct one exercise annually.
The Oct. 4 drill simulated the detonation of an improvised nuclear device in Detroit, resulting in 150 simulated victims arriving at the Adult Emergency Services (AES) and new Children’s Emergency Services (CES) at the U-M Hospitals and Health Centers. The full-scale exercise was intended to increase hospital all-hazard preparedness and to specifically increase hospital and regional nuclear incident preparedness.
One hundred victim scenarios were simulated at AES with 50 more at the Children’s ED. The drill gave UMHS an opportunity to test our Code D (Disaster) Plan, Burn Surge Plan, Radiation Incident Procedures, and decontamination operations. It was also the first ED drill conducted at the C.S. Mott Children’s and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital.
More than 75 Emergency Department staff volunteered to come in on their day off to participate in the drills. Nurses, physicians, ED techs, Environmental Services, Clerical Services, Radiation Safety Service (Occupational Safety & Environmental Health), Security and Entrance Services, Department of Public Safety, Safety Management Services, Emergency Preparedness, and more participated in the drill and its evaluation.
Victims were played by more than 30 UMHHC staff, U-M School of Public Health employees, Emergency Medical Technician students from Huron Valley Ambulance, and children of staff members who volunteered to be victims during the drill. Volunteers drew cards instructing them on their roles, which included patients exposed to radiation or contaminated with radioactive material, burn victims, and victims immobile or unable to hear or see. Read the rest of this entry »