RiccardiBy Christopher Riccardi:  Emergency Preparedness, Safety & Security, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro

Mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery…these are actions that Emergency Preparedness personnel take to heart. These are more than idle words. These are the driving mantra in any successful emergency management program. Hospitals, EMS agencies, cities and communities across the country go to great lengths to prepare for and to respond to disasters. Disasters come in the form of natural and or human induced events. As we have seen recently with the Boston Marathon bombings, the West Texas fertilizer plant explosion and Super Storm Sandy that being prepared can and will reduce the number of casualties due to a disaster event. Practice prepares us for real life. Working together saves lives! Imagine the outcome in Boston if the First Aid station was not in immediate proximity to the explosions. What if NYU didn’t evacuate their patients prior to being inundated by the storm surge? These are lessons to be learned for all, but are also experiences that hospitals take very seriously. On April 26, 2013, Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro conducted a Full Scale Disaster Exercise in conjunction with local Fire Departments and in excess of 100 local college Nursing student victims to test their capabilities if a disaster happened on the hospital campus. This event was based on an explosion at one of the local petrochemical facilities. This potential threat is identified in the Hazards and Vulnerability Analysis and thusly, one that the hospital will mitigate and prepare for.  Hospital response to these events are crucial to enable them to provide medical care to their community in times of crisis. To conduct an exercise of this magnitude truly tests their ability to respond and to educate staff in what to expect in managing a large number of victims. These exercises are evaluated for what went well as well as opportunities for improvement. Take comfort in knowing that hospitals take their responsibilities to the community seriously. A well prepared community through groups like COPE Preparedness, enable the hospitals to deliver medical care in responding to disasters.


NOTE: COPE Preparedness Board Member Christopher Riccardi is the Disaster Coordinator for Providence- Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance/San Pedro. He was one of the driving forces behind organizing the comprehensive full scale exercise described in this article.

SAN PEDRO (CBSLA.com) — First responders participated in a mock disaster drill at a South Bay hospital Friday morning involving a fake bombing.

Planned for more than a year, the disaster drill was held at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center San Pedro at 8 a.m. and included participants from emergency response agencies.

 “The horrific bombing at the Boston Marathon and the explosion in West, Texas, last week are solemn reminders of the need for hospitals and first responders to train for disaster,” officials said.

The mock disaster stemmed from an unknown natural bomb blast and included more than 100 victims and a unified command center staffed with law enforcement and medical personnel.

“We have a combined incident command center today that will include the Torrance Fire Department, LA County Fire Department, LA City Fire Department and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department as well as Providence Little Company of Mary San Pedro employees,” nurse Colleen Wyllie said.

Healthcare volunteers from across the state who want disaster training also participated.

The drill was completed at 10 a.m.



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