Preparing for Disaster

Victims of a mass shooting were transported to Edward Hospital where the outpatient lobby was transformed into a triage area… but not to worry, this was just a community-wide disaster drill.

“We just want to be prepared,” said Shannon Morris, Manager of EMS and Trauma Services, Edward Hospital. “We want to know that our staff is all on board and they know what to do in these crises because of the society we live in, it can happen anywhere.”

The hospital conducts drills like this twice a year.

“If you do something often you become an expert,” said Cathy Adamson, Clinical Leader, ER Department, Edward Hospital. “If we only do something every ten years we’re going to be rusty.”

This time the scenario was a mass shooting at an undisclosed Naperville location. Patients were coming in and doctors and nurses were practicing as if this were a real situation.

“This is a less acute area where we would take in the walk in people, which in a situation like this, there usually a significant amount of walk-in wounded,” said Dr. Pete Schubel, Emergency Room Physician, Edward Hospital.

“One thing we want to do as soon as our patients get here is make sure they know they’re safe,” said Jan Slonski Staff Nurse, Edward Hospital. “Take care of their injuries, inside maybe they’re shaky a bit, but our job is to take care of the patients.”

The drills aren’t just for Edward. Members of the police and fire departments, the DuPage County Health Department and the American Red Cross were all on hand to prepare for disaster.

“Having familiar faces is a huge reassuring fact for everybody that’s involved in it,” said Mark Thurow, Bureau Chief, Naperville Fire Department. “It’s a stressful time for everyone when there’s a disaster going on and if I can look across the room and see someone that I know and know that they understand what they need to do and I understand what they need to do and we don’t even have to talk about it, it just goes so much smoother.”

“It takes a village to respond to any type of event, said Brenda Carlevato, Manager of Emergency Preparedness, Edward Hospital. “When we do a disaster drill it’s really to help us be prepared as we play what we would do if this really happened.”

At the end of the drill, all parties involved agreed they were ready if a similar situation happened here in Naperville.


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