‘Active threat’ drill preps Asante staff, helps teach high school students

GRANTS PASS, Ore.– Practice makes perfect and that’s exactly what Asante Three River Medical Center wants to focus on. Early Wednesday morning, with the sound of sirens blaring at dusk, signals of an emergency were clear but all wasn’t as it seemed.

“It’s basically kind of chaos. Controlled chaos.”

Lauren Van Sickle, public information officer for Asante, watches as ambulances drive people from designated pick-up zones to an emergency drop off at the hospital. This is all part of an “active threat” drill the Asante hospitals run almost twice a year.

It’s a scenario many hope they never have to go through but hospitals must always be prepared.

“It could be a plane crash, it could be a bus crash on I-5, it could be an earthquake,” said Van Sickle. “We need to be prepared for any kind of incident that brings patients to our door.”

For many years, the hospital has run all all types of mass casualty incidents. This year, however, things are a little different.

“This is the first one we’ve done for a mass casualty drill and it’s involving high school students,” said Van Sickle.

Partnering with two advanced medical skills classes from Grants Pass High School, 26 students participated in the drill, acting as victims for an incident involving a school such as a shooting.

For students and hospital staff alike, it’s a great opportunity to learn.

“Especially for the victims,” said Ashley Hott, Grants Pass High senior. “They get to go in and get to actually be treated. So not only are they figuring out how the doctors and the nurses work together but they’re also learning how to treat somebody.”

Hott said she thought the drill went very well this year. It may seem hectic and chaotic but watching the hospital staff stay cool in moments like these can benefit the students. Even the staff can take something out of this training.

“We need to know where there might be gaps that we need to address right away,” said Van Sickle. “So if it’s setting up the tent outside for if it’s raining or we need extra space or if it’s a decontamination incident – we need to set those things up in a moments notice.”

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