LEE COUNTY, Ala. — If you were in the area of East Alabama Medical Center on Tuesday and saw an increased amount of ambulances around the hospital, there was a reason: a disaster drill.
The hospital, Lee County Emergency Management Agency, Opelika Fire Department and Southern Union’ Health Services Division came together for a disaster drill to ensure they are prepared in the event a disaster strikes.
They hold these drills at least twice a year, but those taking part say you can never have too much practice.
“You can never be too prepared,” Emergency Services Director Sharon Gess said. “What’s always nice about what we do here at East Alabama is that’s something that’s ingrained in our culture is to practice, practice, practice, be prepared, making sure you have your equipment, making sure your staff is trained, making sure everyone knows their role and responses.”
Tuesday, hospital personnel and other responders worked a mock bus crash with dozens of injuries.
Emergency planner for the hospital, Randy Causey, said not being prepared is not an option. He said a healthcare organization is required by the Joint Commission and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are required to have an emergency preparedness plan in place. He said within 48 hours of the drill being completed, there will be a debriefing on how the drill went.
“The purpose of that meeting is to decide what other meetings, what other small groups do we need to spin off in?” Causey said. “Which of our processes need tightening up? What did we learn that’s new? How are we going to do better next time? It’s a constant process improvement if you will, always wanting to be better than you were the last time.”
The next disaster drill is slated for sometime in fall or early winter.