Fitzgibbon Hospital, in conjunction with Marshall Police Department, the Saline County Medical Reserve Corps and the local Emergency Planning Coalition conducted a critical incident drill during the evening hours on Monday, June 13. Participation in such drills in vital to the education of staff, the evaluation of processes and the capacity to respond when certain services could be unavailable. Over the last few years, Fitzgibbon Hospital has participated in numerous other drills that included hazardous materials accidents, mass inoculation delivery and severe weather events, but this is the first drill based solely on the unlikely scenario of an armed violent intruder.
“We conduct these types of drills, not because we want or expect these types of events to occur, but because we want to do everything we can to make sure we are prepared if they do,” said Tom Jones, Chief Information Officer and Disaster Preparedness Coordinator for Fitzgibbon Hospital. “Whether an event occurs here at the hospital or in another area of our community, our ability to provide care is an integral part of the community’s ability to recover quickly.”
This particular drill involved two simulated armed violent intruders who posed as attackers at the Fitzgibbon Medical Clinic. Staff worked quickly to move simulated patients, portrayed by actors, to safety. Disaster plans were immediately implemented, giving time for Marshall Police teams to enter the facility and neutralize the attackers. From start to finish, the drill lasted approximately 15 minutes and involved more than 30 staff members. The Incident Command team then reassembled the next morning in the Incident Command Center to discuss findings so that preparedness and response plans could be improved.
“Our staff worked great together through this drill. We received feedback from our team members as well as from law enforcement, Tony Day, from the Saline County EMA, Mid America Regional Council and other observers,” said Jones. “A recovery discussion after an incident is a useful tool for us to learn and improve. Everyone is able to provide their input and observations so we can ultimately move the organization to where we need to be.”
Fitzgibbon Hospital plans additional drills and scenarios as part of its continuing goal of disaster preparedness and is an active member of the Local Emergency Planning Coalition.