BENNINGTON, VT—October 5, 2015—Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) conducted two emergency drills on Wednesday, September 30. The first drill tested procedures to be used in the case that an active shooter targets SVHC. It is the first time the health system has conducted a drill like this. The second drill, which is more commonly practiced, tested procedures to be used in any situation where multiple individuals are seriously injured.
In addition to SVHC employees, participants included the Bennington Police Department; Bennington Rescue Squad; a team from consulting group NEHICS, LLC, of Chichester, New Hampshire; students from Southern Vermont College; and others.
“Keeping patients and employees safe is foremost in our mission to provide exceptional care. Drills like these are a common way for hospitals to prepare for emergencies,” said Jill Maynard, RN, assistant director of nursing for the Emergency Department and the hospital’s emergency management coordinator.
The active-shooter drill began at begin at approximately 8 a.m. in the Medical Office Building at 140 Hospital Drive in Bennington. The building houses more than a dozen medical practices and 150 employees. The drill transitioned to a Code Yellow, or mass casualty drill, as the injured persons’ were transported to the SVMC Emergency Department.
“Thanks to the skill and preparation of our team and the cooperation of the highly skilled emergency response teams in this community, this drill was a success,” said Maynard. “We identified areas of exceptional performance, and opportunities for improved communication, which we are working on through upgrades in technology. The consultants working on the drill with SVMC commented that our emergency department performed better than any they had seen.”
Special thanks was expressed to 19 student volunteers from Southern Vermont College, who portrayed the victims of the event.
Patients with appointments in the Medical Office Building and those using the main entrance of the hospital were greeted by hospital ambassadors, who explained that there was a drill in progress. There was minimal disruption to medical appointments.
SVHC is an integrated health system serving Bennington and Windham Counties in Vermont, Eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties in New York, and Northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC consists of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), the Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, and the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation in Bennington; SVMC Northshire Campus in Manchester, SVMC Deerfield Valley Campus in Wilmington, Mountain Medical at the base of Mount Snow in West Dover, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC’s multispecialty medical group is operated in partnership with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians and provides a wide range of primary and specialty care to the region. To learn more, visit svhealthcare.org.
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