Practice makes perfect. That is why the Wayne-Westland Fire Department and the staff at Oakwood Annapolis Hospital in Wayne partnered up to practice a tornado drill.
Dozens of volunteers acted as tornado victims so the hospital staff and fire department could test their ability to handle a large-scale emergency caused by a tornado.
“As the only certified Level III Trauma Center in western Wayne County, we have to be prepared for any and all emergencies,” said Eric Widner, division president of Oakwood Annapolis Hospital. “Obviously, this is something we hope we never have to experience, but it is important for us to ensure our staff is ready and that we can take care of patients and serve the community no matter what type of crisis we face.”
In addition to sending injured victims to the hospital, the drill also factored in possibilities that the hospital itself may be damaged and that patients may need to be evacuated from any—or all—floors. Firefighters simulated a rooftop evacuation with a 120-foot ladder truck.
“It was important to get as many people involved in this exercise as possible,” said John Cargill, Trauma and Emergency Management Coordinator at Oakwood Annapolis Hospital, who coord
inated the disaster drill. “We wanted to test our emergency management procedures as realistically as we could and determine how we would respond if we were pushed to our limits—and beyond.”
“We learned a lot during this exercise,” said Widner. “Overall, I think our staff and the community worked well together. It was gratifying to see that the skills and values we practice every day provided an excellent foundation for us during this ‘crisis.’ We hope that something like this never happens in our community but if it does, we’ll be prepared for it.”