BY KEN LITTLE
Local hospitals will participate Wednesday in a disaster scenario drill right out of a Tom Clancy novel.
Both hospitals will treat victims of a hypothetical terrorist attack at the University of Tennessee football stadium during a game, according to the drill scenario.
Laughlin Memorial Hospital and Takoma Regional Hospital will both accept "victims" of the terrorist attack at Neyland Stadium on the UT campus, as part of one of the largest hospital exercises ever held in Tennessee.
Participants will include 56 hospitals, regional and local health departments, first responders, local and state emergency management officials, emergency medical services, volunteer organizations, mental health and other agencies, along with roughly 1,000 "victim actors," according to healthcare officials.
"The Mass Casualty Exercise will test the region's hospital and surge plans, local and regional mass-casualty incident plans, and communication capabilities," a news release said.
"The scenario will pretend it's a Saturday (and terrorists) will blow up UT Stadium. We're going to have 21 victims," said Noah Roark, Laughlin hospital human resources director.
An evaluator from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) will be on hand to monitor the response at the hospital, Roark said.
The East Grand Division Healthcare Coalition Full Scale Exercise (FSE) is designed to evaluate emergency response plans, policies, and procedures as they pertain to a disaster event significant enough to warrant a surge of patients, the activation of participating agencies' Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) and Regional Medical Communications Centers (RMCCs).
A FSE is a complex event that requires detailed planning.
Representatives from numerous agencies are participating in the planning process, exercise, and evaluation, according to the news release.
Takoma employees will focus on cases of possible radiation contamination from the attack.
"We've got a new triage procedure that we're going to try," said Lynn Parks, a Takoma emergency room nurse who is the hospital's emergency preparedness coordinator and RN emergency room coordinator.
About 30 student volunteers from nearby Greeneville Adventist Academy will volunteer as victims, Parks said.
"We will be triaging them," he said.
A TEMA evaluator on site will provide test radiation materials "to see if we can locate them on patients," Parks said.
The East Grand Division Healthcare Coalition's full-scale exercise "is evidence of the growing public safety partnership between hospitals and state and local jurisdictions for the response to the threats and hazards our nation and communities face," the news release said.