At the end of March the Northwest Kansas region of the Kansas Dept. of Health and Environment facilitated a “Spring Fling Functional Exercise” for Rooks County as part of the Kansas Preparedness Program. The exercise was designed to measure and test emergency management skills and coordination capabilities. Agencies involved in the exercise included RCH administration and staff, as well as Rooks County EMS, Rooks County Sheriff’s Department and the Rooks County Health Department.
A scenario was devised involving a massive tornado doing extensive damage in Plainville. The various departments involved in the exercise worked from 2 separate sites, one at RCH and the other from the Rooks County jail. Using phone and radio communication, the agencies coordinated to triage injured citizens, identify and gather supplies needed such as fuel and water, dispatch appropriate emergency personnel and vehicles to crucial or strategic sites etc.
Various obstacles were worked into the scenario such as high volumes of injured requiring care in Emergency Department or transport, power outages that affected designated shelter areas and searches for potential victims in unsafe areas.
Numerous regional and state agencies were contacted during the exercise, having been already advised about the drill, to ensure that communications channels were up to date.
Observers from other towns were present at RCH during the exercise to assess communication skills, teamwork, communication with outside resources and problem solving skills of the various personnel involved.
The documentation of the exercise was reviewed and subsequently approved for both the annual and 5 year exercise requirement.
Erin Newell, RN, Director of Disaster & Safety, recently received notice from the state coordinator that congratulated all the agencies involved on a job well done! Acknowledging that on top of everyday operations, participating in an exercise like this creates a more hectic environment, the coordinator stated that RCH handled the scenario very well.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the exercise. Yet more proof that RCH and the other healthcare and emergency agencies in Rooks County continue to strive to be as prepared as possible for any emergency!