Abbeville Area Medical Center Teams Holds Evacuation Drill
Hospital practices “Code Yellow” plan to ensure patient safety during an emergency situation
Abbeville, SC (May 30, 2012) – On Sunday, May 27 Abbeville Area Medical Center initiated a “Code Yellow” or hospital evacuation drill. SC DHEC requires hospitals to develop a written evacuation plan and practice the plan annually.
“At Abbeville Area Medical Center, our priority is patients’ safety,” stated Laura Baughman, Emergency Preparedness Coordinator. “We have developed emergency response plans to provide for the safety of our patients in a variety of emergency situations. We periodically test these plans to ensure that what ‘looks good on paper’ will actually work in a real-life event.”
The emergency situation stated that a tornado had damaged the county/city water facility and most of Abbeville County was without water and sewer, however the hospital did not sustain any physical damage. The drill was a three-day escalating event in which conditions became critical enough due to lack of water availability that AAMC had to evacuate all patients and close operations.
The exercise focused on initiating the hospital’s incident command system, exercising its contingency plans to maintain critical hospital services as long as possible during the emergency situation, providing an organized approach to the rapid evacuation and transportation of patients, tracking of patients and accounting for the safe relocation of all patients, visitors and staff.
All staff members were notified via phone using the hospital’s mass notification system of the drill and received updates regarding the situation. Managers notified staff of what they would be expected to do in this situation, i.e. all staff not necessary to the operation of the hospital would be asked to remain at home to conserve the hospital’s water supply.
During the exercise, Career Center students acted as the patients that would have to be moved. Staff arranged for patients to be transferred to other area facilities as well as for the transport of the patients. The hospital’s Senior Connections Van was used to simulate transportation.
The hospital meets following each drill to discuss what went well and what needs improvement or revisions. After revisions are made, the drill is held again to test the revisions.
“We have drills because we want ensure we are prepared to serve our County’s residents in the event of a disaster,” stated Rich Osmus, AAMC CEO. “Our facility’s response during this drill was rapid, organized and efficient.”