October 3, 2017
Local Hospitals Prepared For Mass Casualty Incident
By Emily J. Reynolds | October 3, 2017, 5:31 am | www.sparkthenews.com | Bridgewater, Brockton, Community Organizations, East Bridgewater, Healthcare, Local, Religion, State, West Bridgewater
Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital, Good Samaritan Medical Center, and Brockton Emergency Management Agency have detailed plans and a schedule of drills in place to prepare for a variety of mass casualty incidents.
This week’s shooting in Las Vegas, Nev., was the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. With more than 500 casualties, the hospitals were inundated and the staff at all levels relied on its training to triage and treat the influx of patients.
On a local level, Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital (SHBH), Good Samaritan Medical Center (GSMC), and Brockton Emergency Management Agency (BEMA) similarly have detailed plans and a schedule of drills in place to prepare for a variety of mass casualty incidents (MCIs).
“Something of the magnitude of Las Vegas will be handled by the Statewide Fire Mobilization Plan, which would allow ‘Strike Teams’ of resources to be dispatched to the city,” explained Steve Hooke, Director of BEMA.
“If that incident happened in Brockton, God forbid, we would activate our Emergency Operations Center (EOC). Each department and agency would be represented at the table and management of resources would be done through the EOC.”
In April, BEMA organized a drill for local fire, police, EMS, SHBH, and GSMC emergency staff to practice a response to an active shooter, also called a “code silver.”
“We conduct regular active shooter events here,” said Rachel Labas, Media and Public Relations Supervisor for SHBH. “Our security team conducts approximately 20 code silver drills per quarter in different departments in the hospital and in our Signature Medical Group offsite office locations.”
Labas said this year, SHBH is adding special lock boxes to give police access to areas of the hospital that would normally require security personnel to gain access during a lock down. The hospital also has an Incident Command Center area complete with walkie talkies, printers, phones, and color-coded binders detailing each person’s role in the event of an emergency.
“We conduct mass casualty chemical event drills on an annual basis,” Labas added. “Most recently, our drill simulated a chemical spill event in a building across the street – this allowed us to train for patients arriving on foot as well as transport. A few years ago we did an event in coordination with MedFlight that simulated a helicopter crash.”
GSMC similarly conducts exercises with state and local agencies throughout the year— including a radiation exposure drill last September and an infectious disease response drill scheduled for 2018.
“GSMC is verified by the American College of Surgeons as a Level III Trauma Center and has received state designation from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Human Services Department of Public Health,” said Nicki Meade Draves, Marketing and Communications for GSMC.
“GSMC participates in several regional and statewide training and exercises and offers educational opportunities on a regular basis to local EMS partners — most recently on the Management of Hemorrhage in Trauma Patients, presented to over 100 local EMS partners.”
Representative from both hospitals and BEMA also sit on regional councils to discuss MCI scenarios with other area healthcare providers — including the Health and Medical Coordinating Coalition, Southeastern Massachusetts Emergency Medical Services Council, and Local Emergency Planning Committee.
The Commonwealth has an EMS MCI plan that provides minimum standards for triage, communication, evacuation, and care of patients during such an event. All EMS services are encouraged to participate in at least one training exercise of the MCI plan each year, as well as individual skills training in incident command, triage, hazard identification, and others.
For more information on the Commonwealth MCI plan visit http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/docs/dph/emergency-services/ems-mci-plan.pdf