Louisville VA Medical Center
KYANG Emergency Management Exercise
Exercise—Exercise—Exercise. On September 9, 2014, a team of Robley Rex VAMC staff and volunteers collaborated with the Kentucky Air National Guard (KYANG), Louisville EMS, and community hospitals to take part in “Bent Horseshoe”, an Emergency Management Exercise put together to work out how teams from different agencies would respond as one during a natural disaster.
Imagine the scenario—you wake up one fine fall morning, check your cell and see that your social media feed has exploded with “breaking news” about an earthquake in Western Kentucky. That earthquake has registered 6.8 on the Richter scale. Homes, hospitals, and entire towns have been destroyed. Damage is being assessed as far as seven states away.
As an employee at the Robley Rex VA Medical Center, what does this mean to you? According to Robley Rex VA Medical Center Emergency Preparedness Coordinator David Burton, more than you might think.
“Robley Rex VAMC is one of two Federal Coordinating Centers (FCCs) here in Kentucky. During emergency situations, such as a natural disaster, FCCs are tasked to oversee and coordinate the reception of patients from disaster areas under the National Disaster Medical System (NDMS) – this could include not only disaster victims, but current patients from hospitals, nursing homes, etc, evacuated from within the disaster area, as well as patient minders (parents, family members), and possibly non-injured evacuees.”
In the case of this exercise, the focus was on receiving, triaging, and transporting patients to the appropriate hospital with the appropriate resources.
“The Louisville ANG base is appointed as our Patient Reception Area (PRA) and patients are brought in mostly by C-130 or C-17 military aircraft,” Burton said. “Our Patient Reception Team is responsible for receiving patients off of the military aircraft, triaging, stabilizing, tracking, and coordinating with Metro EMS for ambulance transportation from the PRA to the appropriate NDMS partnering hospital or other health care facilities as necessary.”
The exercise did serve a purpose. Burton said teams had a lot of lessons learned which they can apply to ‘real world’ situations.
“The goal of exercise “Bent Horseshoe” was to evaluate Robley Rex VAMC and our NDMS partners’ ability to successfully meet the requirements of this tasking. While a lot of simulations are built into exercises, we were still able to identify discrepancies in our capabilities – familiarization with the PRA process was the largest obstacle. This emphasizes the need to practice more often – and that’s our plan.”
For more photos from the exercise, please check out our Flickr Album titled Robley Rex VAMC Emergency Management Exercise @ KYAN—9-9-14.