Blount Memorial Hospital holds regional disaster drill
From Staff Reports
A regional disaster drill was held at Blount Memorial Hospital Tuesday morning, where hospital staff participated in exercises that prepare them for receiving overflows of patients who are victims of natural disasters.
The East Tennessee Regional Hospital Coalition coordinates the drills for each of the hospitals in the area. Drill scenarios included the University of Tennessee Medical Center evacuating tornado patients and, as part of that, Blount Memorial received 37 total patients with various medical needs, injuries and, in some cases, trauma patients.
Dr. Harold Naramore, chief medical officer at Blount Memorial, was incident commander during the drill. He is responsible for the hospital’s response to the disaster and manages the situation with other key leaders within the organization who would be overseeing supplies, resources, personnel, communications, clinical response and security in the event of an actual disaster.
Hospital safety director Carole Chambers oversees and coordinates the hospital’s participation in local and regional disaster drills.
One of the other exercises included health occupation students from different high schools who played the role of young victims, arranged in the outpatient lobby before being transported to surgery, nursing floors or other areas of the hospital as indicated by the status of their condition.
It gave the hospital the opportunity to test its emergency operations plan, which includes everything from communications to resource management, as well as the ability to care for current and unanticipated patients in the community.
“We really tested several different areas within the hospital, and we probably tested approximately more than 50 percent of who would be on call for a disaster situation,” said Jennie Bounds, director of public relations and marketing for Blount Memorial. “We are required to do a certain number of drills each year. We participate in local and regional drills with some of our hospital counterparts in the area.
“Using the words of our safety officer, a successful drill is not one where we did everything great,” Bounds continued, “but it helps us identify the areas you can work on to prepare for certain scenarios. There’s not one way to prepare for a certain disaster — it’s not one size fits all. We tested other areas that haven’t been tested, and we have to make sure the response is handled appropriately.”