Mock Disaster Helps Emergency Workers Plan For Reality

Wednesday, June 4th 2014, 5:45 pm
By: News On 6

Local emergency officials were put to a test when the Tulsa Spine and Specialty Hospital was evacuated for a drill on Wednesday afternoon.

It is an event firefighters and hospital staff take part in every year.

The disaster scenario, which involved a bad weather situation, was designed to feel real.

It involved 70 patients, and everyone involved learned an important lesson.

It was a code black, meaning patients and staff had to pack up get out.

"That actually caused an issue with our MRI machine where it quenched, and helium leaked out of the machine so we had a code yellow, which led to an evacuation of the hospital," Trent Gastineau said.

Everyone was put to the test.

"Fortunately, I feel like nurses were quick on our feet," nurse Lamaria Folks said. "We react and work with and do what we have to do with our patients because ultimately our patients' safety is what is first. So we do whatever we have to do regardless of what the situation is."

"There was an explosion," Gastineau said. "There were employees injured. They were transported down to a triage area and they were in turn sent out to different hospitals in the area and that drill will continue on in those other facilities."

The joint commission requires all hospitals practice for emergencies. The annual exercise is always different.

"We always learn something new every time we do these drills," EMSA's Jason Whitlow said. "It doesn't matter how well they are executed, there are always things you can improve on. I think that's the point."

Wednesday's lesson proves communication is key and goals already are outlined.

"Keeping track of patients and communicating back and forth between the hospital staff and EMSA and the fire department," he said. "In a real life event, of course police would be involved as well."

All emergency officials involved will review Wednesday's exercise over the next couple of weeks and come up with ways to streamline communication and improve any issues.