Hospital Night Shift Takes Command

Kona Community Hospital (KCH) conducted its first night shift emergency preparedness drill on Sunday, November 7 at 10 p.m. The focus was to provide night shift staff with important disaster training. The hospital performed a mock “Code Orange” which activated a Hazmat/BioTerrorism event. Objectives included the establishment of the decontamination and triage tents, training of staff about the disaster and decontamination process, and improve emergency preparedness systems including response time.

The scenario included a small airplane crash with 6 victims saturated with aviation fuel. As they were being transported to KCH, a motor vehicle accident occurred with 4 victims that had unknown pesticide exposure on their skin. In addition, the 2 first responder EMTs were contaminated.

Approximately 20 hospital employees participated in the emergency preparedness simulation. At 10 p.m. Incident Command was established by Nurse Supervisor/Incident Commander Renee McCune. Specific responsibilities were assigned to those who could attend the drill such as Hailey de la Torre – DeCon Unit Leader, Dr. Beth Groshong – Medical Care Director, Karen Jackson – Treatment Area Supervisor, Emily Mendez-Bryant – Public Information Officer, Steven Payne – Patient Tracker, Sally Robertson – Labor Pool Coordinator and Eric Willis – Safety/Security Officer. The team had until 10:30 p.m. until patients arrived. Both the decontamination and triage tents took a swift 15 minutes to erect. Within 30 minutes – the estimated time of arrival, the team was ready for patients. Soon after the mock patients’ were transported, the decontamination process occurred. In addition, OB Nurse Paul Moore and ICU Nurse Sean McCormick donned a PAPR (Powered Air Purifying Respirator) which would be worn during a decontamination event.

“As the main hospital in West Hawaii, we play a vital role in an event of a disaster and we want to ensure that we are fully capable of responding in a time of crisis,” commented Jay Kreuzer, Chief Executive Officer of Kona Community Hospital. “Our proactive approach in conducting valuable exercises such as this is an example of our commitment to best practices.”

In regards to the night shift’s performance, Eric Willis, Safety/Security Officer and Emergency Management Committee Chair, stated, “Since this was the first training during the night shift, we did not know what to expect. But, we were all pleasantly surprised that the drill went very well. There was great participation, effective communication, and our staff responded quickly and efficiently.”

After the event, a debriefing was conducted to evaluate the pros and cons of the exercise, along with action steps to improve the process in the future.