EMA, SkyRidge Medical Center, others complete local radiological disaster drill
by GREG KAYLOR, Banner Staff Writer
Jun 13, 2013 | 778 views | 0 0 comments | 49 49 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SKYRIDGE MEDICAL Center and others took part in a radiological drill Wednesday at the hospital. The response and exercise were graded by Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. Banner photo, GREG KAYLOR
SKYRIDGE MEDICAL Center and others took part in a radiological drill Wednesday at the hospital. The response and exercise were graded by Federal Emergency Management Agency officials. Banner photo, GREG KAYLOR
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Members of the local Cleveland/Bradley County Emergency Management Agency, TEMA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, along with several other agencies, met at SkyRidge Medical Center Wednesday to perform a radiological disaster drill.

Tennessee Department of Health and TVA also participated in the “on-the-ground” exercise which began with a mock patient being exposed to radiation.

Bradley County Emergency Medical Service paramedics picked up the patient and took him to the hospital where evaluators with FEMA were waiting to begin the drill.

“SkyRidge is required to undergo several disaster drills per year,” said Chief Security Officer Mike Taylor. “This is important for our hospital accreditation as well as our relationship with agencies in the community. How we respond impacts others,” he added.

“SRMC works closely with state and city agencies to ensure that we are prepared to safely care for our community in the event of a disaster,” said Bernadette DePrez, chief nursing officer. “It is rewarding to hear that our commitment to training staff to be prepared in any type of disaster is recognized. A representative from FEMA in today's drill applauded our commitment and said that our community should be proud to know their hospital is prepared.”

Over the years, the hospital has held multiple drills and participated in statewide disaster drills. SkyRidge officials continually work with CBCEMA to prepare for disaster situations, according to Director Troy Spence.

SkyRidge has also implemented its own war room, or Emergency Operations Center, equipping it with weather monitoring, enhanced communications capabilities and other amenities.

“The way we train is an All-Hazards Approach,” Taylor said. “We want our staff to be prepared in any situation, and are fortunate to have excellent relationships with our local emergency management agency as well as all emergency responders. The effective collaboration in responding to the tornadoes of the past several years is a direct result of these drills and ongoing training.”

“The most important part of our training is for our hospital to be a resource for the community, one that can work in collaboration or stand alone and sustain for several days,” said SkyRidge CEO Coleman Foss.

“We have invested in our disaster response not only through training, but through additional equipment and technology.”

SkyRidge Medical Center is committed to providing appropriate responses to community disasters, whether natural or manmade, as part of ongoing efforts to support the community beyond the walls of the hospital, according to Stephanie Austin, spokesperson for media representatives at Wednesday’s drill.

Jeff Gunter of CBCEMA coordinated the event with SkyRidge and other agencies.