SOMC plans evacuation drill at Hospice center

John Stegeman, PDT Sports Editor

April 26, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth will stage an emergency mock drill at its Hospice Care Center on May 1 to practice evacuation responses. Residents seeing the drill should not worry, said Angie Hodge, emergency department clinical coordinator and chairperson of the emergency management team.

“We do exercises to prepare for events that have a possibility of happening. The drill that they are planning is the need to evacuate their building. It could be circumstances that the building would not support them. The one they are planning for will be a fire,” Hodge said.

This isn’t your typical fire drill, she explained. A lot more planning and thought has to go into evacuating patients with special care needs.

“We would need to consider, if the patient could ambulate, their illnesses and the equipment they need to support that illness and support their care. We have patients that are on oxygen and we have patients with I.V.’s or some other equipment. So when we make our decision that it is safer for the patient if we leave our facility, we would have to be sure we could still get that same level of care wherever we take that patient,” Hodge said.

No actual patients will be participating in the drill.

“In Hospice we want to do our best not to disrupt any families or patient,” Hodge said.

Instead there will be “mock victims” representing a variety of different needs and situations.

“We will be ambulating probably eight or nine individuals, which will either be mock families or mock patients. They will be moving at least one mock patient in a bed. Then we have an alternate site or staging area where they will take that patient to be safe until we would be able to actually move them to the hospital facility,” she said.

After the events in Boston last week, emergency response teams routinely re-evaluate their response procedures. Hodge said the SOMC emergency management committee meets at least once a month to discuss the likelihood of a similar attack at their hospital, and how well they would be able to respond. The hospital performs two drills each year, and participates in regional drills.

The hospital will also participate in the county-wide drill next month, Hodge said.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or rottney@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.