Beaver, PA, (May 19, 2011)
One of the largest full scale disaster drill exercises ever conducted in Pennsylvania will occur from Monday, May 23 through Wednesday, May 25 at the Heritage Valley Beaver campus. The disaster drill exercise is a result of collaborative efforts on the part of Heritage Valley Health System, the Beaver County Emergency Management Agency, Medic Rescue Ambulance, and the Pennsylvania Department of Health Region 4 EMS Strike Team (“Strike Team”) under the direction of the Emergency Medical Service Institute.
“Medic Rescue is the home responding EMS agency and will take a primary role in the drill,” explained Mark Giannetti, Chief Administrator at Medic Rescue. “If a disaster were to occur, Medic Rescue would have the lead for all EMS operations. We will work under the direction of Beaver County Emergency Management Agency who would be ‘in command’ of all EMS, fire, police and other resources during a true emergency.”
As part of the full scale “disaster drill” exercise, the Strike Team will use the grassy areas behind the Heritage Valley Beaver hospital to develop realistic scenarios where EMS teams can set up the smaller Casualty Collection Point system (4 shelters 18 feet by 24 feet each) and triage and treat “notional” patients.
“The Strike Team will deploy its Portable Hospital System and related support resources in the open areas beside and behind the hospital complex,” said Thomas J. McElree, NREMT-P, Executive Director of Emergency Medical Service Institute. “Specifically, the softball field and nearby parking areas provide an excellent area to fully set up the hospital system and stage ambulances.”
All activities will be conducted primarily during daylight hours Monday, May 23 through Wednesday, May 25. The disaster drill coincides with electrical power upgrades taking place at Friendship Ridge nursing facility close by and will provide additional EMS support should it be needed.
“The electrical power upgrades and transfer of power lines at Friendship Ridge is a carefully planned undertaking,” said John Belko, Acting Administrator of Friendship Ridge. “By holding the disaster drill in conjunction with our upgrade, Friendship Ridge benefits from having the back up and support of all collaborating agencies.”
Additionally, the Region 13 Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) Health and Medical group will integrate a simulated patient surge tabletop exercise into the Strike Team exercise in order to allow several hospitals in Southwestern Pennsylvania to have an opportunity to test their hazard vulnerability assumptions and internal disaster plans as required by JCAHO and the federal Hospital Preparedness Program. The disaster drill exercise will not interfere with normal hospital activities at any time. The Strike Team systems are fully self-contained and personnel are self-sufficient.
“Heritage Valley is very pleased to collaborate on this disaster simulation that will help our neighbors at Friendship Ridge as well as further train EMS responders in case this type of event occurs,” said Norm Mitry, president and CEO of Heritage Valley Health System. “This type of collaboration benefits the entire community.”
About Emergency Medical Services Institute
The Emergency Medical Service Institute (EMSI) is designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Bureau of EMS as the Regional EMS Council for Southwestern Pennsylvania. EMSI is responsible for overseeing all EMS activities in the 10 counties of Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington and Westmoreland including certification and continuing education of EMS practitioners, licensure of all EMS agencies, and oversight of all clinical aspects of emergency medical care. EMSI is also heavily involved in local and regional planning and coordination for any major incident or “all hazards” response and is a member and active participant in the Region 13 Task Force.
About Beaver County Emergency Management Agency
Beaver County EMA is a support service for the 54 municipalities that make up Beaver County. We provide support for planning and training prior to emergencies; response help during an emergency; recovery assistance after the disaster, including but not limited to damage assessment; and long term support with Hazard Mitigation projects.
About Medic Rescue
Medic Rescue is the provider of emergency medical services (EMS) serving communities of Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Based in Bridgewater PA, we are a non-profit ambulance company, staffed by 152 paramedics, emergency medical technicians and wheelchair van personnel plus 25 support personnel. Medic Rescue's Motto is, "It's More Than Our Job... It's Your Life!" We have backed up this claim last year by assisting thousands of patients throughout the greater Beaver Valley area. Medic Rescue has a fleet of 25 ambulances and 21 wheelchair vans. This fleet of vehicles log over 750,000 miles every year. For more information, please visit www.medicrescue.org.
About Heritage Valley Health System
Heritage Valley Health System provides comprehensive healthcare for residents of Allegheny, Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties, in Pennsylvania; eastern Ohio; and the panhandle of West Virginia. In partnership with more than 425 physicians, Heritage Valley offers a broad range of medical, surgical and diagnostic services at its two hospitals, Heritage Valley Beaver and Heritage Valley Sewickley; in physician offices; and community satellite facilities. Additional information about Heritage Valley Health System is available online at www.heritagevalley.org.
About Friendship Ridge
Friendship Ridge provides short-term and long-term skilled nursing and rehabilitative services to residents of Beaver County and surrounding areas and is committed to providing a safe, secure and comfortable environment that enriches lives and supports the individual needs of our patients and their families. Through our extensive services, diverse activities and compassionate staff, we strive to enhance each resident’s emotional and physical well-being by producing positive results with our special brand of care. For additional information about Friendship Ridge, please visit online at www.friendshipridge.org.