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Coffee Regional to Hold Disaster Drill

November 07, 2013

Volunteers, hospital employees and local emergency responders will take part in a mock disaster drill on Thursday, November 14th at Coffee Regional Medical Center.   The drill will test the preparedness and response of local, and regional agencies should a real crisis occur.

The event staged by Coffee Regional’s EMS Director, Mike Etheridge, will focus on response plans for an actual disaster which would trigger a sudden influx of patients, media, concerned community members and the “worried well” to the hospital.  

The full scale mass-casualty drill is being conducted in collaboration with multiple partner agencies including the Coffee County Fire/EMA, Coffee County Sheriff's Office, Douglas Police Department, Douglas Fire Department, Wiregrass Technical College and Air Evac Lifeteam

The scenario for the practice event is seasonal workers having been exposed to an unknown chemical by an aerial crop dusting company.  Organizers caution that the event is a significant exercise and the local community can expect to see emergency responders at Coffee Regional looking and acting as if it were a true disaster.   Normal hospital Emergency Department operations and patient care will not be affected by the drill in any way.

Hospitals are required by the Joint Commission to have disaster response plans in place and conduct periodic drills for improvement and training purposes.   “The goal of this exercise is to enhance working relationships and collaboration between the agencies and organizations involved,” Etheridge said.  “It’s a mock exercise, but it’s also a very real test of our ability to respond to an actual disaster.  We appreciate the cooperation of everyone involved.”