Catholic Health to Conduct Three-Day Full Scale Natural Disaster Drill

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April 19, 2012

The hospitals of the Catholic Health System will participate in a three-day disaster preparedness drill on April 24, 25, and 26.

The drills will take place at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Kenmore Mercy Hospital; Sisters of Charity Hospital and Sisters Hospital, St. Joseph Campus.

Hospital disaster response drills are real-time tests of a hospital’s readiness to respond to a sudden demand for services resulting from a community-wide disaster. Routine evaluation of these drills will help Catholic Health make sure it is adequately prepared to meet the community’s needs and provide high-quality care during a disaster event.

Each day of drills will have a different area of focus.

Emergency Communication Drill

Tuesday April 24 will include the evaluation of emergency communications systems. Volunteers will staff amateur radio communications stations at each Catholic Health hospital campus, including the Mercy Ambulatory Care Center, to ensure the locations are ready for use. These communications centers include over-the-air, “HAM radio” communications equipment, independent of cellular or land-line communications systems.

Natural Disaster Drill

Wednesday April 25 will include natural disaster (severe storm scenario) response drills at both campuses of Sisters Hospital. Volunteer “patients” will be brought into the Emergency Departments at both the Main Street Campus and the St. Joseph Campus on Harlem Road in Cheektowaga for “treatment of injuries.”

Meanwhile, Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, and The Mercy Ambulatory Care Center will activate their Emergency Response Command Center to walk through a simulated evacuation of each facility.

Evacuation Drill

Thursday April 27 will include a regional evacuation exercise, with a simulated evacuation of patients from Mercy Hospital of Buffalo and their transport to other hospital facilities throughout the region. Various community agencies will also take part in this exercise.

“Catholic Health is committed to preparation and training for situations that call for extraordinary measures, because when the community needs us most, we intend to respond with the skill, expertise, and compassion on which they’ve come to rely,” said Lynn Sigeti, director of Associate Health.