Harrisburg Medical Center Conducts Disaster Drill


On Friday, December 8, 2017 at 10:00 am, Harrisburg Medical Center conducted a disaster drill in order to test and train emergency response. More than 150 hospitals employees, emergency response members, and volunteers participated in the drill. The drill focused on response plans for actual crises, which could trigger a sudden influx of patients that are injured or suffering from an unexpected disaster.
For this drill, a mock mass shooting had occurred in the community and there was a sudden influx of patients ranging from level one traumas (which is the most critically injured) to level four traumas (which is the least critcially injured). The Southeastern Illinois College nursing department participated in the drill by playing roles as patients and family members. These mock patients were transferred from the HMC Annex 5 building by TransCare ambulances to the Emergency Department, where each patient was triaged to determine the level of care needed.
“The drills are extremely important to us as they help us determine the areas we need to work on and improve in order to provide the best possible care to our patients in the event of a disaster,” states Jeff Smith, HMC Safety Manager. “It’s important to note that these drills are not designed to be flawless and smooth sailing,” states Neil Atkins, HMC ER Nursing Director, “they are designed to help us better prepare for all the unknown possibilites.” The HMC Chief Nursing Officer, Leslie Ferrell, stated that “Compared to our last disaster drill that was conducted, we have made significant improvements. The communication between the various levels and departments involved in the drill was absolutely fantastic.” As Neil stated though, “These drills are not designed to be easy, but to be difficult and better prepare us. We did find a few issues to be worked out, but we will have those ironed out before our next drill. It was very nice to be able to join forces with our community partners to help us.”
TransCare Ambulance service, Alan Ninness and Curtis Rowlen with Emergency Management and Southeastern Illinois College Nursing Program joined forces with the hospital in the drill.
Hospitals are required by the Joint Commission to have disaster response plans in place and to conduct disaster drills periodically for improvement and training purposes.


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