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Training focused on the Unthinkable

May 12, 2017

     Safety is of utmost importance for Fitzgibbon Hospital which includes the safety of both patients and employees alike. The possibility of an armed violent intruder was the subject of a recent training event held at Fitzgibbon Hospital by Mitigation Dynamics, a consulting, protection and training firm from Lee’s Summit, Mo. Homicide is the leading cause of death in women and the second leading cause of death in the workplace. When many think of an armed violent intruder, high-profile incidents like Sandy Hook, the movie theater in Aurora, Co. and others, firearms are often the focus. But an armed violent intruder also includes other weapons such as knives and blunt force objects.

     “We met with several of our staff here at the hospital to look at the infrastructure we have put in place to help should this type of critical incident occur on our campus,” said Tom Jones, Chief Information Officer and disaster preparedness coordinator for Fitzgibbon Hospital. “The training not only included statistics of these types of incidents but it also included a incident-based drill that allowed our team to set up the Incident Command Center and begin a response ‘in the moment’ to ensure the situation would be resolved as quickly as possible with as few casualties as possible.”

     In addition to Fitzgibbon Hospital staff, Marshall Police Chief Michael Donnell was in attendance along with Saline Medical Reserve Corps Assistant Director Russ Donnell. Jackie Devaul from Ray County Memorial Hospital also attended along with Bill Moberly from the Mid-America Regional Council.

     “These individuals are a central part of our collaborative effort to respond in any type of disaster, whether it is manmade or natural. I was very pleased they were able to come and participate in this exercise with us,” said Jones.

     During the drill, Mitigation Dynamics voiced their impression with the plans and training in place in Marshall.

     “We have provided this training to hundreds of healthcare facilities across the nation. We have to say, we are very impressed with the work being done here in Marshall, Mo.,” said Rod Schaeffer of Mitigation Dynamics during the event.

     The EF5 tornado in Joplin, Missouri in 2011 that hit St. John’s Mercy Hospital caused a ripple effect across the nation as healthcare facilities saw a new “worst case scenario” in terms of their disaster preparations. Fitzgibbon Hospital has worked hard with community partners to not only put policies in place, but to also test these policies through various exercises including tornado, winter storm, large scale vaccination, chemical spills with decontamination, long term power outages, etc.

     “We are doing everything we can to be prepared for the events that no one wants to think about happening here. It is important for us as an organization so that our community emerges from a disastrous event as healthy as possible,” said Jones.