FAIRMONT, W.Va. (WBOY) — On Thursday, WVU Medicine’s Fairmont Medical Center held a mass casual drill to ensure its facility is prepared for any scenario.
Back in May, WVU Medicine held a mass casualty exercise at Ruby Memorial Hospital where the Fairmont Medical Center played a supporting role. By springing this drill on Fairmont Medical’s emergency department, staff had the opportunity to put what they learned into action.
Thirteen students from Fairmont State University participated as actors in the drill by wearing realistic makeup and fake blood to simulate a real tragedy. Students also carried a card that indicated their injuries, providing better understanding for medical staff.
Prior to the drill, surveys were conducted on staff of Fairmont Medical center asking whether or not they felt comfortable in a situation like the drill that was enacted. Observations were collected during the drill based on their responses.
The hospital’s staff was unaware of the drill until it was already underway, and safety precautions were taken to ensure that the simulation ran smoothly.
“Making sure that our real patients are taking our priority and then ensuring the safety of our actors too. We made sure the actors had their symptom cards with them at all times, so they knew that they were actors and then we had tied a pink band around them as well so that everybody can know that they shouldn’t be getting real treatment,” said Elizabeth Garrasi, director of emergency management for Ruby Memorial Hospital. “We can’t obviously close the hospital down to train, but we know that if a real scenario were to happen, we would have patients already in the emergency room just like we do today.”
Fairmont Medical Center utilized the standard triage system and had each actor marked with a specific color to imply the severity of the “trauma” they had received.
Actors with green tags were pre-ambulatory, or less severe, yellow tags were delayed injuries indicating trauma but not life threatening, and red symbolized life-threatening injuries. A few of the actors wore “expectant” tags, meaning they were essentially deceased upon arrival, displaying convulsions and not breathing.
12 News also spoke with chief operating officer of Fairmont Medical Center, Aaron Yanuzo, on the importance of offering this training for the hospital’s staff.
“Every news story that you see out there now, there are a lot of things that are going on in the world that result in very acute, mass injuries so being prepared for something like that to happen here is in our best interest for the community, for the staff. It helps them to understand those pressure situations to help destress those situations and it also helps us understand the resources that we need to bring to the facility here in order to be better prepared,” said Yanuzo.
Garrasi spoke on how she felt Fairmont Medical Center’s staff performed during the hour-long drill.
“We knew it was going to take them a little bit to register what was going on because they had no notice, but I felt that once the staff did get a handle on, ‘okay this is a mass casualty we’re getting more and more patients,’ they enacted their emergency response plans as they should have,” said Garrasi.