Supporting Medical Needs of Disaster Evacuees

Supporting Medical Needs of Disaster Evacuees

Sep 25, 2015

Practice Makes Perfect in Supporting Medical Needs of Evacuees in Times of Crisis

Testing community’s ability to support medical needs of displaced individuals in Spokane community

For more information, contact Kim Papich, SRHD Public Information Officer (509) 324-1539 or
SPOKANE, Wash. — Sept. 25, 2015 — This Saturday, Sept. 26, Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) will convene numerous partners for a drill to test its emergency operations coordination and mass care abilities. The exercise is specific to supporting the minor medical needs of those who may be displaced in the community in the event of an emergency.
SRHD partners for the exercise include local representatives from American Red Cross (Red Cross), The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS), Greater Spokane Emergency Management (GSEM), Medical Reserve Corps of Eastern Washington (MRC), and Region 9 Healthcare Coalition.
From 9:00 a.m. until noon, the groups will gather in Spokane Valley at the LDS church at 13608 E. Belle Terre Ave. If it is raining Saturday, they will conduct the drill indoors at GSEM’s training facility at 1614 N. Rebecca St.
The three-hour exercise will center on a scenario in which Spokane has just experienced an earthquake. A subsequent request will come through from Red Cross to SRHD to provide minor medical assistance to meet the needs of individuals located at an overwhelmed general population shelter.
“With this summer’s fires, many of the groups participating in this exercise, including our staff, witnessed the importance of emergency operations coordination,” said Red Cross Disaster Program Manager, Jamie Hill. “We’re really pleased that so many partners are involved in this exercise, showing their commitment to preparing in honor of our community’s safety and well-being.”
Objectives for the training include:

  • Review of emergency preparedness plans.
  • Analyze activation procedures between GSEM and SRHD resources, including for SRHD’s alternate care facility (ACF) trailer.
  • Assess supplies in the agency’s ACF trailer.
  • Activate MRC volunteers (local health professionals and others with relevant health-related skills).
  • Utilize agreements between partners for sheltering and evaluate potential shelter/ACF sites.

Timing of the drill coincides perfectly with September’s National Preparedness Month. This year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is asking agencies like SRHD to take action with its community in making a plan for everyone to stay safe during disasters. The preparedness focus for this week covers power outages and encourages individuals to learn about established emergency plans in their area. SRHD’s alternate care facility plan provides guidance on short-term, supportive basic medical care during a natural disaster or public health emergency when a patient is displaced from their home and needs basic medical care above that provided by a general community shelter.
The month culminates in America’s PrepareAthon! and the National PrepareAthon! Day on Sept. 30, when residents are encouraged to take action to prepare. A great step is downloading the free, hazard-specific resources from FEMA’s site that help people plan, conduct, and promote preparedness activities.
For more information about SRHD’s Saturday drill, contact exercise coordinator, Cindy Thompson.  For more information about National Preparedness Month go to Or visit SRHD’s web site offers comprehensive, updated information about SRHD and its triumphs in making Spokane a safer and healthier community. Become a fan of SRHD on Facebook to receive local safety and wellness tips. You can also follow us on Twitter @spokanehealth.