Wright County trains for natural disaster

Allina Medical Transportation personnel and volunteers take care of an injured victim at Operation Gone with the Wind Exercise, a mock natural disaster that was staged by Wright County on June 21.
Allina Medical Transportation personnel and volunteers take care of an injured victim at Operation Gone with the Wind Exercise, a mock natural disaster that was staged by Wright County on June 21.

Four Wright County organizations joined hospitals and public agencies from 22 counties recently to prepare for a natural disaster during the exercise, “Operation Gone with the Wind” at Camp Ripley.
The full-scale disaster exercise June 20-21 simulated a tornado impact on the fictitious town of Twelve Oaks. The exercise included 350 participants from more than 100 agencies and facilities throughout Central and West Central Minnesota.
The simulation included an evacuation of a critical access hospital and nursing home to a neighboring facility, the implementation of an alternate medical care site using the Medical Reserve Corp/Minnesota Responds Volunteers, and use of the Minnesota Mobile Medical Team to assist the receiving hospital handling the influx of patients. Response to the simulated tornado was directed by the Emergency Operations Center which provided the opportunity for dozens of county emergency managers, public health officials, hospitals, and the Red Cross to work together in real time.
This exercise used the new training facilities at Camp Ripley including:
•    Combined Arms Collective Training Facility – a brand new 26-building cinder block city that acted as the site of the tornado impact
•    Emergency Management Training Facility – a state-of-the-art emergency operations center used by the county emergency management teams. This is the first large-scale exercise to use this facility.
Wright County participants in the exercise were:
•    Medical Unit Training Facility – the troop medical center took on the role of critical access hospital receiving patients from an evacuating hospital.
•    Allina Buffalo Hospital and Allina Medical Transportation acting as first responders and hospital personnel: Hatti Edwards, emergency preparedness coordinator; Dr. Paul Allegra, Emergency Department physician, Laurie McPhee, manager safety/engineering/environmental services/materials management; Brian Nord, operations manager for Medical Transportation and ambulance crew members Jay O’Donnell and Dave Renstrom;
•    New River Medical Center acting as first responders and hospital personnel: Marshall Smith, CEO, Gordon Vosberg, EMS Director, Steve Schrupp, ED Director, Lesley Wilson, Trauma RN, Mary Lanegran, facilities director;
•    Wright County Sheriff’s Office: Steve Berg, Emergency Management Coordinator, acting as the EOC Safety Officer;
•    Wright County Public Health: Jon Young, Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator, acting as the Public Health Liaison in the EOC and Christine Austin-Roehler, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, acting as a Public Health Representative; and
•    Wright County Minnesota Response Volunteers: Lisa Beecher (St. Michael) and Judith Saewert (Delano).
This exercise was made possible by a federal grant from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (Department of Health and Human Services) and allocated by the Minnesota Department of Health/Office of Emergency Preparedness.
Participants came from the Central and West Central Public Health and Health Care System Preparedness Regions: Benton, Cass, Chisago, Clay, Crow Wing, Douglas, Grant, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwa, Morrison, Ottertail, Pine, Pope, Sherburne, Stearns, Stevens, Todd, Traverse, Wadena, Wilkin, and Wright.
Working across county borders gives agencies the opportunity to learn from each other. Lessons learned from Operation Gone with the Wind will be incorporated into local emergency planning for counties and medical facilities.