News Briefs

Disaster drill to test and train emergency responders

RUTLAND—Volunteers, hospital employees, and local emergency responders will take part in a mock-disaster exercise on Saturday, May 21 at the Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport in No. Clarendon. This full scale exercise will test the preparedness and response of local, regional and state agencies should a real crisis occur.

The event, sponsored by Rutland Regional Medical Center and Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport, will focus on response plans for an actual disaster, which would trigger a sudden influx of patients, media, and concerned community members to the hospital.

This full-scale mass-casualty exercise is being conducted in collaboration with multiple partner agencies. In addition to RRMC, Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport, state and local police and fire departments, Rutland Regional Ambulance Service and the Department of Homeland Security will be taking part.

The scenario for the exercise includes a simulated plane crash and simulated response from multiple regional agencies. The local community can expect to see emergency responders at Rutland Regional Medical Center looking and acting as if it were a true disaster. Normal hospital emergency department operations and patient care, along with operations of participating agencies, will not be affected by the exercise, hospital officials have promised.

Hospitals are required by the Joint Commission to have disaster response plans in place and conduct periodic exercises for improvement and training purposes.

“The goal of this exercise is to enhance working relationships and collaboration between the agencies and organizations involved,” said Beth Winter, exercise director and manager of emergency preparedness at RRMC. “It’s a mock exercise, but a very real test of our ability to respond to an actual disaster. We appreciate the cooperation of everyone involved.”

Lt. Chuck Cacciatore, the station commander for the Vermont State Police in Rutland stated, “It has been a very interesting process, learning and coordinating with our federal and state planning partners. There is a lot more behind the scenes to make this drill a reality. Communication with all the partners is key.”

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