Cortlandt Manor, NY - (May 24, 2012) – Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to disaster response. So it’s no surprise that emergency room staff at Hudson Valley Hospital Center celebrated Emergency Medical Services Week doing what they do best: drilling for emergencies.
On May 22 as part of National EMS week May 20-26, the Hospital participated in a New York State Department of Health preparedness drill as part of an exercise done with the hospitals in the region. The drill provided a chance for local EMS agencies to participate as well as showcase their response capabilities.
Justin Costable, EMS coordinator at HVHC, said the drill was designed to test the Emergency Department staff’s ability to test the hospital’s surge capacity and to perform critical triage tasks used whenever there is a large scale emergency. In the scenario practiced on Tuesday, the emergency room had to treat 20 people who were injured during a train derailment caused by a tidal surge during a hurricane.
“We routinely conduct drills because it is important to be ready should a real emergency arise,’’ said Costable. “Not only do staff have to be prepared to respond to an emergency, but coordination with other agencies is key in disaster response,’’
Costable said that Tuesday’s drill went smoothly and also gave the Emergency Department the opportunity to go over security protocol, disaster supplies inventory and test mass radiation detection equipment used in radiological drills. Since HVHC is the hospital closest to Indian Point nuclear power plants, it holds an emergency response drill with the plant’s operators Entergy each year.
“It’s important to test our radiation equipment as well as policy and procedures frequently throughout the year,” he said.
EMS week is also an opportunity to thank all the EMS agencies in Westchester and Putnam counties who work with the Hospital all year long, Costable said. This week, the Hospital in cooperation with Emergency Medical Associates provided food and t-shirts to EMS workers and raffled off prizes including some tablet computers.
“We have a great relationship with the men and women, many of them volunteers, who work tirelessly to save lives in this community,’’ said Costable. “We want them to know that we are grateful for their service.’’
EMS week is celebrated nationwide to recognize the contributions of Emergency Medical Services. It was created in 1974 under President Gerald Ford.