Local hospital Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center held a drill this past Wednesday, July 13 to prepare in the case of a bomb threat.
One of the hospital’s bi-annual emergency drills, the scenario saw Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center (TLRMC), as well as personnel from the Leitchfield Police and Fire Departments and Grayson County Emergency Medical Services (GCEMS), operate as though a bomb threat had been called in at the hospital.
“TLRMC spends considerable time and resources to practice different disaster situations every year,” said TLRMC Director of Planning and Marketing Bill Oldham. “We operate under the motto, ‘Hope for the best but plan for the worst.’”
As the scenario began, team leaders from the hospital’s various branches searched their areas for suspicious looking items that may or may not have been the “bomb.”
Leitchfield Police Detective Kevin Smith, who participated in Wednesday’s drill, said it is appropriate for hospital employees to search their areas because they, more so than law enforcement, would be familiar with what appears out of the ordinary in a hospital.
Additionally, even if one suspicious item were located and reported to authorities, Oldham said, hospital employees would continue to search for suspicious items.
As the scenario progressed, an explosion occurred in the hospital’s boiler room, shutting down the facility’s air conditioning, and leading TLRMC officials to determine that patients needed to be transported off-site for continued care.
Hospital employees posed as patients during the drill, and GCEMS loaded them into ambulances for transport to the Centre on Main in Leitchfield for continued care in a controlled evacuation.
Oldham said Wednesday’s drill is the first time TLRMC has hosted a drill that has gone off-site, and while the “patients” in Wednesday’s drill were taken to the Centre on Main, in an emergency situation, the hospital would also contact other area healthcare facilities to request to move patients there.
One to two hospital personnel would be needed per patient moved off-site, so TLRMC employees also had to determine what equipment would need to be moved off-site for the continued care of the patients, Oldham said.
In an emergency situation, TLRMC would use its Fast Command program on its website, www.tlrmc.com, to communicate both internally among its employees and externally with the public.
Communication, Oldham said, is the first important factor in responding to an emergency.
“The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing,” he said.
Any and all updates on an emergency situation occurring in the hospital would be made available for public viewing on the Fast Command site, which can be viewed through tlrmc.com.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.