Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital recently participated in a mass casualty incident exercise centered on the premise of a Ferris wheel collapsing at the Piney Woods Fair; the theme was “A Fall to Remember.” The scenario featured the Ferris wheel collapsing at full capacity with multiple fair-goers underneath the ride. This drill gave us an opportunity to evaluate current response procedures and policies and gauge our response capabilities in a mass casualty incident.
The story line involved 25 eighth graders from the Leaders of Tomorrow program - students from schools all over Nacogdoches County - role playing our victims, family members and even media. Five students, were “moulaged” with blood, puncture wounds, lots of bruising and even a fake amputation for added realism.
“During these events our goal is to uncover “gaps” in our processes,” said Jackie Laird, executive director of emergency and surgical services. “Our previous drill revealed a need for improved communications and this was a primary focus for evaluation this time.”
“Over the last year, we put in place some new communication tools, namely Dial My Call mass notification system and portable radios. Both tools greatly improved communication during this year’s drill. The gap we uncovered this time is a need to review and revise our triage and admission processes to accommodate a mass casualty incident and efficiently sort and register patients.”