Over 270 hospitals, EMS, trauma, public health, and other emergency response personnel from South Central Wisconsin—including representatives from 29 hospitals—gathered in Madison last month to practice an emergency plan to respond to an influenza outbreak.
The exercise provided opportunities for collaboration during a response to an influenza pandemic, including communication and information sharing, point-of-dispensing operations, medical surge coordination, and management of fatalities and shortages in drugs and medical supplies. While the Coalition’s exercise focused on how to respond to an influenza outbreak, the emergency plan that was tested is applicable to any pandemic or infectious disease outbreak.
“Participants left the exercise realizing that we are stronger together as a coalition than any of us working alone,” said Jennifer Behnke, MPH, coordinator, South Central Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Readiness Coalition, which organized the exercise. “We can leverage this capacity for coordination and collaboration to effectively respond to emergencies of all kinds.”
The Coalition is a group of health care organizations and emergency preparedness and response partners (e.g., hospitals, EMS, trauma, and public health) in 14 counties in South Central Wisconsin that collaborate for the common goal of uniform and unified response to mass casualty incidents and other emergencies, including pandemics. The Coalition receives funding and other support from the Wisconsin Healthcare Emergency Preparedness Program (WHEPP), which is a program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services in partnership with WHA and other stakeholders to support emergency preparedness planning and response.
If you have questions regarding emergency preparedness, contact Andrew Brenton, WHA assistant general counsel, at 608-274-1820 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit: www.wha.org/emergencyPreparedness.aspx.