The first Quarterly Training of 2012 focused on a review of an incident that occurred back in August. This incident involved a power outage at one of our community hospitals. The commercial power was disrupted and then the back-up generator failed as well. Like many incidents, the first few minutes of this incident set the stage for how the rest of the incident would play out. The initial response was from the fire department and thanks to their quick thinking and excellent prioritization they were able to keep life-sustaining equipment, such as ventilators, powered through the use of their generators. Additional ambulances were called in case of the need to evacuate. Additional fire apparatus were called to get longer power cords to reach further distances in the hospital. The local Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) arrived and began coordinating efforts. There were three lessons learned from this incident.
The first lesson learned was the importance of communication. Without clear communication between the EMC, the fire department and DES this incident could have grown to be much worse. The second lesson learned was the importance of having the hospital staff trained in Incident Command. This lesson applies to more than just hospital staff but to all healthcare personnel. The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers a short, on-line course on the Incident Command System. All healthcare workers should take this course. It can be found by going to: http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/is100HCb.asp. Additionally, Phoenixville Emergency Management, in cooperation with the Department of Emergency Services, is offering this course in a classroom setting in February. For more information on the course contact Tony Przychodzien at 610-344-4555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The morning will focus on ICS and the afternoon will be presented by Exelon Emergency Preparedness focusing on healthcare facility’s roles and actions during a fixed site nuclear emergency.
The third lesson learned was the importance of knowing your resources and that was the other topic discussed at Quarterly Training. Tom Grace from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Surge Medical Assistance Response Team (SEPA SMART) gave a presentation on their capabilities. The SEPA SMART is an organized, trained and equipped group of volunteers that can bridge infrastructure gaps at healthcare facilities or provide surge assistance. The SEPA SMART responded to the hospital power outage and provided critical equipment and assistance ensuring we would not need to evacuate the hospital. They have responded to countless other events. If you are interested in learning more about SEPA SMART, or interested in volunteering with them, visit them online at http://www.sepasmart.org/.