Inter-Lakes Health completes emergency drills

TICONDEROGA-Inter-Lakes Health recently participated in three emergency preparedness disaster drills. The drills tested the organization's ability to mobilize and activate its hospital incident command system and work collaboratively with the New York State Department of Health and other regional health providers under emergency conditions.

The first drill tested the facility's readiness to handle an influx of patients who had been exposed to chemical contamination. The Essex, Warren, and Washington county Offices of Emergency Preparedness, Glens Falls Hospital, Warren County Sheriff's Department, Ticonderoga Fire Department, Ticonderoga Emergency Medical Services and the DOH participated. The drill tested the ability of all participants to effectively communicate and access emergency supplies necessary to treat patients exposed to potentially lethal chemicals.

The second and third drills, sponsored by the DOH Office of Health Emergency Preparedness, were regional exercises and involved health care facilities from Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, and St. Lawrence counties.

A morning drill simulated a bus accident resulting from a flooded road. The exercise tested first responders' and hospital staffs' ability to triage mass casualty patients. The Ticonderoga Emergency Squad used a special emergency triage system called SMART Triage to medically evaluate eleven injured passengers including those with special needs, pregnant women and passengers who suffered traumatic amputations.

An evening drill tested the organization's ability to employ an alternate means of communication should the hospital lose normal methods of communication such as the phone service. The exercise also simulated closure of several upstate hospitals due to a disaster requiring patient evacuation. Participating hospitals needed to arrange to accept patients from the closing hospitals. The scenario required the use of HAM radios as an alternate form of communication between hospitals. Dave Downing of Ticonderoga, a licensed HAM radio operator, volunteered and successfully facilitated the HAM radio communication for Inter-Lakes Health.

Ticonderoga Emergency squad Captain Marie Moore stated, "This was a great training experience for my team and a great opportunity to work with the hospital. The EMS squad enjoyed having an EMT student participate and receive hands-on training."

Inter-Lakes Health is a family of health services, including Moses-Ludington Hospital, Heritage Commons Residential Health Care, Moses-Ludington Adult Care, the Inter-Lakes Dental Clinic and Lord Howe Estates.

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