FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 8, 2002
Contact: Ellen Beth Levitt firstname.lastname@example.org 410-328-8919
Baltimore Ravens: Kevin Byrne 410-654-6240
U.S. Air Force: Betty Anne Mauger 202-767-4802
University of Maryland Medical Center, Air Force Medics and Ravens Stadium to Hold Drills
On Saturday, July 13, parts of downtown Baltimore will be buzzing with activity that resembles a response to a mass casualty emergency. In reality, it will only be a drill. The University of Maryland Medical Center, the U.S. Air Force Medical Service and Ravens Stadium will each conduct training exercises that day to become better prepared to handle emergency situations
"We have always had emergency plans in place, and we routinely conduct drills, but the terrorist attacks of September 11th made us all more keenly aware of the importance of emergency training and preparation," says John W. Ashworth III, Chief Operating Officer of the University of Maryland Medical Center.
"Ours will be a training exercise, in which we will make staff more familiar with our plans and identify opportunities for improvements," Ashworth adds.
The University of Maryland Medical Center's exercise begins at 7 a.m., when volunteer "victims" will assemble at a nearby parking garage to put on make up for the drill and be briefed on their roles and the types of injuries they will pretend to have received. The exercise, called Free State Response 2002, will continue throughout the morning. It will be based on a scenario that terrorists have released a toxic chemical and caused an explosion in a parking lot at Ravens' Stadium just before a game. The stadium is located within a mile of the Medical Center.
The exercise scenario assumes that about 200 injured people will descend upon the Medical Center between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Decontamination stations will be set up outside the hospital, along Penn Street, just north of Lombard Street, as part of the exercise. A triage area will be located just beyond the decontamination area. Doctors and nurses from the adult Emergency Department and the Shock Trauma Center, as well as mental health counselors will spring into action to handle the large influx of "patients" in the drill. The exercise will also enable Medical Center administrators to practice implementing and evaluating operational details, including the establishment of a disaster command center to coordinate the clinical and staff response.
The U.S. Air Force Medical Service and the Baltimore Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center will join the Medical Center in the morning exercise. Air Force medical personnel will deploy a portable surgical tent outside of the hospital to help treat the volunteer victims. Some of the "injured" will be sent to the nearby Baltimore VA's Emergency Department for treatment.
The Air Force will also conduct an aeromedical evacuation exercise in the afternoon, beginning at 1 p.m., in which Air Force active duty and Air National Guard personnel will simulate the transport of casualties from the morning's exercise. "Patients" will be moved by Maryland Army National Guard ambulances to Martin State Airport. There, aeromedical evacuation personnel from the 142nd Medical Squadron in New Castle, Delaware, will transfer, load and monitor the "patients" onboard a C-130J aircraft from the 175th Wing of the Maryland Air National Guard at the airport. The Air Force's aeromedical evacuation system was developed to rapidly evacuate patients by fixed-wing aircraft.
"Since September 11, concern regarding the threat of weapons of mass destruction, particularly chemical and biological warfare attacks, has come to the forefront of our nation's attention. To ensure our medical system is prepared to respond, it is vitally important that we build community relationships now -- local, regional, national, military and civilian -- and practice consequence management during homeland security exercises, such as Free State Response 2002," says Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Paul K. Carlton, Jr.
"The Air Force Medical Service is partnering with our civilian counterparts whenever and wherever it makes sense," the general adds.
A separate exercise will get underway at Ravens Stadium at 1 p.m. "We'll do two evacuation exercises. One will be based on weather, and the scenario for the other is a terrorist threat or activity. We want to take our 'book' knowledge and put it into practice. We also want to identify areas where we can make possible improvements as we go through the process," says Ravens President David Modell.
"We've performed these exercises before, in previous seasons, as we trained our game-day staff, but this will be the first time we bring in fans and actually do a practice run," says Modell. The Ravens will bring about 1,100 fans to the stadium to participate in their exercises on July 13.
"The community should be proud that the University of Maryland Medical Center, in partnership with a network of key agencies, is focusing on the most important goals -- to continuously enhance the quality and safety of care," says Robert Wise, M.D., Vice President, Standards, Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.
The Maryland Emergency Management Agency has provided coordination for the July 13 exercises. Participants include the University of Maryland Medical Center, the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the U.S. Air Force Medical Service, the University of Maryland, Baltimore, the Baltimore Ravens, the Maryland Stadium Authority, the Baltimore Police and Fire Departments, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, the Maryland National Guard and the Baltimore VA Medical Center.
Those interested in taking part in the Ravens Stadium exercises in the afternoon can go to www.baltimoreravens.com for registration information.
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