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    Stirred, not shaken at NHB during full scale mock earthquake exercise

    Stirred, not shaken at NHB during full scale mock earthquake exercise

    Photo By Petty Officer 1st Class Ryan Riley | 190808-N-MZ309-085 NAVAL HOSPITAL BREMERTON, Wash. (Aug. 8, 2019) Members of Olympic...... read more read more



    Story by Douglas Stutz 

    Naval Hospital Bremerton

    Honing skills to master a disaster were tested and evaluated at Naval Hospital Bremerton during a full scale mock exercise, Operation Fire Arrow August 8, 2019.

    The training provided NHB with the opportunity to assess command readiness, emergency response, and emergency evacuation to major seismic aftershocks from an earthquake that many experts say 'it's not a matter of if but when.’

    Some of the main objectives of the exercise were to rapidly assist patients, visitors and staff with injuries, assess damage to the facility, track patients through treatment areas and begin preparation to sustain emergency operations for up to 72 hours, if necessary.

    NHB's Urgent Care Clinic (UCC) staff received mass casualties - with moulage - for a variety of injuries associated with an earthquake, such as abrasions, lacerations and contusions. Triage response was assessed on their ability to set up, activate, treat and transport ambulatory and non-ambulatory trauma patients to correct treatment areas and/or community partners like Harrison Medical Center, Olympic Ambulance, and South Kitsap Fire and Rescue.

    “Working with our civilian counterparts in training like this allows us to work out any glitches before the real thing,” said Terry Lerma, Naval Hospital Bremerton’s emergency preparedness manager.

    The earthquake drill gave NHB the ability to meet specific objectives for Joint Commission Emergency Management standards such as ‘staff role and responsibilities’ with a drop-cover-and-hold drill; ‘senior leadership involvement and emergency operations plan activation’ by activating the Hospital Command Center in response to the seismic event; ‘communications and staff responsibilities’ by a mass notification message sent to all hands with the Live Process alert system; ‘facilities and utility management’ by implementing the rapid emergency assessment plan and evacuating specific areas and buildings; ‘staff and patient safety’ by evacuating specific buildings and patients from the Multi-Service Ward located on the fifth floor of the main building; ‘communications and external agency/community wide participation’ by communicating with local branch health clinics, Navy Medicine West in San Diego, Calif., and other applicable civilian agencies; ‘patient surge and community wide participation’ by coordinating with other federal, county, and city partners to handle casualties via available fire and emergency medical service ambulances; and ‘communication and emergency public information’ by disseminating timely, accurate and concise information in multiple press releases to inform external media and internal audiences.

    There were lesson learned.

    “We improved from last year's drill with our 'External Mass Casualty' plan and our staff evacuation and muster, which is the main point of holding such an exercise. We also learned that we need to revise the locations, such as separating where staff actually muster to account for everyone, and where we conduct our external mass casualty triage,” Lerma said.

    A unique civil engineer and construction note on NHB is that because of receiving - and experiencing - a sizable seismic shake from the Nisqually earthquake of 2001 measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale, as well as where the hospital is situated, NHB became the only military treatment facility in Navy Medicine to complete a unique seismic retrofit project in 2007, which vastly improved the structural ability of the facility to withstand a large earthquake.

    Because as the saying goes, 'it's not a matter of if, but when.'



    Date Taken: 08.08.2019
    Date Posted: 08.13.2019 09:41
    Story ID: 335647
    Location: BREMERTON , WA, US 

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