Hot Springs works through drill

May 18, 2011


St. Joseph's Mercy's Dr. Douglas Ross

examines a mock patient during the

National Level Exercise 2011 in Hot Springs.

St. Joseph’s Mercy participated in the National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE11), a simulated earthquake disaster along the New Madrid fault line, on Tuesday morning.

NLE11 was a White House directed, congressionally mandated functional exercise. The purpose was to prepare and coordinate a multiple-jurisdictional integrated response to a national catastrophic event. Led by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), NLE involved government officials at the federal, state and local levels; members of the private sector; and the general public.

Early Tuesday morning, St. Joseph’s Mercy was informed that a 7.7 earthquake had occurred at Marked Tree, Arkansas. Communications from the Garland County Department of Emergency Management indicated that patients from White County would be sent to Hot Springs for care and treatment.

St. Joseph’s Mercy declared a Code Yellow, Level II emergency and opened the command center to make preparation for the influx of patients. Co-workers followed the procedures for the Level II emergency, including securing appropriate supplies and additional staffing.

St. Joseph’s Mercy and the Garland County Department of Emergency Management worked together to secure students from Mountain Pine High School’s EAST Lab to serve as patients. They were triaged and entered into Mercy’s electronic health record and received care appropriate to their condition.

Just before 11 a.m., the situation was considered under control and an “All Clear” announcement was made, ending the drill.

“This exercise will be a realistic barometer of our response capabilities—bringing together the federal, state and local government in Arkansas, as well as the general public, businesses and other members of the private sector,” said David Maxwell, Arkansas Department of Emergency Management Director.

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