Nobody likes to think about what would happen in scary situations like explosions, earthquakes, blackouts, tornadoes, or perhaps especially when someone armed with weapons threatens the people you love. But reality is, you must be prepared, and that rings especially true for our community’s first responders.
That’s why today Botsford’s Emergency & Trauma Center, Farmington Hills Police Department and Farmington Hills Fire and Rescue all participated in a disaster preparedness drill.
Every year Botsford chooses and scripts a disaster scenario for staff and first responders to practice. Today it was the scenario of an ‘active shooter,’ an armed person entering the hospital intent on inflicting great harm to employees, patients or visitors. Scenarios in years past have included hazmat situations, bombs and even building explosions (you might remember the old Holiday Inn that used to stand at 10 Mile and Grand River…yeah, we got to blow that up!)
According to our nursing director Connie Fleming, RN, drills like the one today are a year in the making and require careful planning and coordination. Once the scenario is chosen, a script is written, volunteer actors are chosen and roles are practiced. The script and actors present a realistic situation that allows staffers to experience and practice their response in a safe environment. Afterwards, everyone talks about what worked, what didn’t and based on that discussion, our response plan is improved. Connie’s been coordinating these drills at Botsford for more than 20 years.
Farmington Hills police said they’ve been doing this type of training since the tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999. Officer Larry Lattrell, who played the role of our “active shooter” in the mock disaster, said very few hospitals have done the extensive training that Botsford Hospital has done. “This community is so fortunate to be as prepared as Botsford and its employees are for a situation like this,” Lattrell said. “Planning is just so very important. These drills do save lives.”
See video from today’s disaster preparedness drill below: