Merit Health Wesley hosts disaster drill

Merit Health Wesley hosts disaster drill
Merit Health Wesley

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - Fire trucks and paramedics lined the parking lot of a Merit Health Wesley facility on U.S. 98 this morning for an explosion, luckily this was only a drill.

Lamar County emergency responders participated in the disaster drill with Merit Health Wesley today as a part of emergency preparedness.

The disaster scenario:

"A storm comes through and lightning hits the office building with the Oak Grove clinic and the Merit Health Wesley Sleep Center. It also hits the truck of one of the patients who is in the Sleep Center and the truck explodes. Several patients are injured and have to be transported to Merit Health Wesley's primary facility."

The scenario had a total of 10 patients that were scattered throughout the facility, and arriving emergency personnel had to find, assess, and remove them from the facility. From the disaster site, the patients were transported to Merit Health Wesley's primary facility for treatment.

“We actually were able to see how we handled the influx of patients within our facility,” said Dixie Norris, Director of Emergency Medical Services.”Of course with any disaster drill that you do there is always room for improvement, ways to improve, and that’s why we do these drills, so we will know how we need to improve.”
The scenario lasted just over an hour and gave all avenues of emergency responders from the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department, Central Lamar fire, to ASAP Ambulance Service a chance to observe the other and improve response time.
“These drills are also a great way for us and the responders to improve avenues of communication,” said Norris. “Communication always seems to be the factor over and over again, no matter have many scenarios we have.”
When patients arrived at the primary facility they were taken through a decontamination zone set up in front of the emergency room entrance as another level of the scenario.
“All in all, we are pleased with how the scenario went, as well as it gives everyone things they can notice and pickup and improve when it is not a real life or death situation,” said Norris.
Norris said the communication aspect of the drill will be a part of their next in-house emergency management meeting.
Members of the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department, ASAP Ambulance Service, Lamar County Volunteer firefighters, Lamar Co. Emergency Management, and Merit Health Wesley employees and volunteers participated in the drill.