Imagine a small group of domestic terrorists attacking local infrastructure, leading to injuries and death, a disruption of daily life and instilling fear among area residents. It’s a scenario most people don’t want to think about, but 140 personnel from 37 healthcare and hospital facilities across Wisconsin recently dealt with that scenario during an intensive, week-long training program at the Center for Domestic Preparedness (CDP) in Anniston, Alabama.
CDP provides emergency responders with the skills they need to respond to and manage incidents and is fully funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency so participants can attend at no cost to their employers.
During the week of June 10-14, Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System sent 29 staff members representing 11 different entities to participate in Wisconsin Week at the CDP where attendees received extensive training related to their professions before coming together for the simulated terrorist exercise. It marked the first time the CDP offered training for participants from a single state. Groups participated in a number of events including one that donned personal protective equipment in 90 degree weather while another group coordinated emergency management resources.
“The training is invaluable since it’s very costly for individual communities to put on their own mock disasters,” said Kevin Justice, Regional Manager for Ministry Spirit Medical Transportation.
For the Wisconsin group’s scenario, multiple attacks on a subway system required officials to triage and treat more than 300 patients, who were portrayed by role players and manikins. Participants engaged in patient triage, patient tracking, hazmat, caring for patients, and incident command activities during the mock disaster.
"The simulation in an extended real-time format was invaluable,” said Cindy Prince, RN, CEN, Manager of Patient Care Services at Ministry Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Marshfield. “Two class days were followed by small group sessions of table-top discussions, exercise practice and finished with a full-scale 4 hour exercise.”
With FEMA’s support, round-trip air and ground transportation, lodging, and meals are provided at no cost to responders or their agency or jurisdiction.