University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center Prepares for Emergencies with Mass Casualty Drill
The hospital collaborated with Anne Arundel County agencies to practice action plans and test how well they communicate and respond to a mock disaster
GLEN BURNIE, Md. (Sept. 14, 2022) – More than 60 volunteers and hospital employees participated in a mock mass casualty drill at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) today. The drill tested the Emergency Department's ability to triage and treat mock "patients" and facilitate "family" reunification as well as communication across teams and with Anne Arundel County agencies.
The drill simulated a flatbed truck crashing into a school bus and passenger vehicle on the U.S. Army Garrison Fort George G. Meade base. Sixteen mock "patients" – including students from the Meade Senior High School Drama Club, who wore wound makeup to simulate varying degrees of injury – were transported by Howard County Fire and Rescue's Medical Ambulance Bus (MAB) to the hospital. Emergency Department staff simulated a trauma evaluation, triaging "patients" outside before transporting them inside the hospital for treatment. A mock "family" reunification center was established in the hospital's Outpatient Care Center to evaluate how well hospital staff communicated with distraught "families" looking for information on their loved ones.
"Hospitals have a responsibility to be prepared at all times for events such as this," said Kathy McCollum, President and Chief Executive Officer of UM BWMC. "Our ability to respond effectively in a disaster depends on our ability to quickly mobilize with our community partners to get the resources we need to care for the community. We're grateful to have strong relationships with Fort Meade, Anne Arundel County Fire Department and the many other agencies that worked with us today on this important drill."
"Simulation drills, like this emergency exercise, test and reinforce the Emergency Department's ability to mobilize as needed in any situation," said Chirag Chaudhari, MD, Chair of Emergency Medicine at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center. "Developing working partnerships with local agencies through continued education and training exercises will only enhance coordination during emergency situations and ensure the appropriate resources are available to support the community at all times."
Exercises such as today's drill are standard practice for hospitals as it allows them to test their communication strategies and action plans. During the COVID-19 pandemic, several emergency drills were conducted as table-top virtual exercises only given safety protocols put in place to minimize disease spread.
"Re-integrating regular simulation trainings into hospital operations is incredibly important as it gives our team the opportunity to practice and learn in a safe environment," said Carol Ann Sperry, RN, MS, CEN, Director of UM BWMC Emergency Services and Emergency Management and the exercise site executive for the hospital. "Emergency drills give us a chance to proactively test our action plans and help our Emergency Department team members feel confident and ready to care for patients in any situation."
To prepare for this drill, additional physicians, nurses and other team members supplemented staffing to ensure normal Emergency Department operations continued. The hospital also coordinated with several Anne Arundel County agencies including U.S. Army Garrison Fort George G. Meade, Anne Arundel County Department of Health, Anne Arundel County Fire Department, Anne Arundel County Police Department, Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Meade Senior High School Drama Club, Anne Arundel Community College, Anne Arundel Annapolis Community Response Team and Anne Arundel County Office of Emergency Management.
Overall, drill organizers say the exercise went well and that future drills will continue to focus sharing information with families and providing additional onsite support such as mental health resources.
Additional drills involving the hospital are being planned for 2023.
About the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center
The University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) is an acute-care facility that is part of the University of Maryland Medical System. It is located in Glen Burnie, Maryland and has 314 beds and more than 3,100 team members. It also has 1,200 medical providers on staff in over 50 specialties. For more information, visit www.umbwmc.org.
About the University of Maryland Medical System
The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is an academic private health system, focused on delivering compassionate, high quality care and putting discovery and innovation into practice at the bedside. Partnering with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore who educate the state's future health care professionals, UMMS is an integrated network of care, delivering 25 percent of all hospital care in urban, suburban and rural communities across the state of Maryland. UMMS puts academic medicine within reach through primary and specialty care delivered at 11 hospitals, including the flagship University of Maryland Medical Center, the System's anchor institution in downtown Baltimore, as well as through a network of University of Maryland Urgent Care centers and more than 150 other locations in 13 counties. For more information, visit www.umms.org.