Brookings Health System Participated Today in Statewide Hospital Preparedness Exercise

Posted: 8/18/2011

Heidi Wiles, Brookings Health System RN, Benny Mogler, Lake Preston EMT, and Tom Papiernik, Brookings Health System EMT, assist volunteer victim Rich Strande, Brookings, into the decontamination tent.  Brookings Health System participated today in the yearly statewide hospital preparedness exercise to practice techniques and improve overall emergency preparedness at the local, regional and state levels.

The emergency scenario focused on a simulated highway transportation accident. In the exercise, a semi collided into a school bus, producing a release of toxic and explosive substances, and
creating a large, low-lying plume. The scenario included casualties at the scene along with injuries to first responders, law enforcement and bystanders. Forty-nine simulated victims and a bus of school children came through Brookings Health System, most of whom required decontamination.

"The idea behind this drill is to train our staff for a crisis situation," said Ambulance Manager Gordon Dekkenga, who serves as the disaster coordinator for Brookings Health System. "Going through this scenario reassures our community that in the event of a disaster, Brookings Health System is prepared and ready to take care of our area residents."

The exercise's purpose was to prepare Brookings Health System's staff and train with community partners from throughout the local area on disaster response and recovery.

Larae Stokes and Rose Reynolds of Brookings Health System decontaminate volunteer victim Jacinda Stewart while Assistant Fire Chief Pete Bolzer supervises. In addition to practicing "what-if" scenarios of increasing hospital surge capacity, staff also tested decontamination capabilities and using medical volunteers during a disaster. South Dakota is the first state in the nation to use volunteers in a disaster scenario.

About Brookings Health System
Brookings Health System, located in Brookings, South Dakota, includes a 49-bed hospital, the 79-bed Brookview Manor nursing home, and Brookhaven Estates apartments. It is a non-profit, city-owned facility that offers the community a full range of inpatient, outpatient, and extended care services. The emergency room is staffed 24 hours a day and provides around the clock medical-nursing care for patient needs ranging from minor injuries to life threatening crises. For more information about the services offered at Brookings Health System, please call (605) 696-9000 or visit us on the Web at brookingshealth.org.