More than 80 hospital personnel from ten hospitals in the Northeast Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Response Coalition participated in a recent mass casualty exercise. The hospitals were supported by more than 40 regional partners from emergency management, county health services, emergency medical services and law enforcement.
The exercise scenario was developed to test the region’s ability to respond with a united effort to a large scale medical response and the associated family support such an event would require. The scenario was an explosion event set in Oconto County at a factory site hosting a run/walk event on factory grounds. There were over 400 simulated “injured patients” that required care. The exercise estimated 2,800 concerned family and friends could be affected by the disaster.
The exercise was an opportunity to use a patient tracking system in each hospital emergency operation center. The Wisconsin Tracking Resources and Communication System (WI-Trac), an internet-based hospital bed management platform that has been provided free of charge since the mid-2000s by the Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Program (WHEPP), was also used by hospitals participating in the exercise to provide hospital capability status directly to the incident scene triage and transport officers. As part of the exercise, the Oconto County Health and Human Services Department set up “family information center” to support concerned family and friends.
The Northeast Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Response Coalition is supported by WHEPP, a program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in partnership with WHA and other stakeholders to support hospital emergency preparedness planning and response to mass casualty incidents and other emergencies. If you have questions about WHEPP, contact Andrew Brenton, WHA assistant general counsel, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 608-274-1820.