Deputy Operations Manager, Eagle County Paramedic Services
Over the years (25 in EMS) I have participated in many large scale EMS and Public Safety disaster exercises. I have left everyone feeling a little better prepared for the inevitable, but I also left all those drills feeling like they were too simulated and didn’t have enough real world components. Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a drill coordinated by Stephanie Palmer of S3 Partnerships. After completion of this drill I felt more prepared than I ever have to face an MCI and I left feeling like I had been through something that actually happened and was not just another planned drill with all the artificialities that come with most of them. I feel this exercise truly prepared our responders to face an MCI and pushed them to work through issues they will face in any large scale disaster.
This exercise achieved three main goals for our department:
1) Fully exercised our communications plan for large scale disasters and identified weak points that needed to be addressed.
2) Tested our ability to staff and respond in most of our ambulances.
3) Allowed us to bring in mutual aid partners we have never worked with on a scene and work through issues we would face communicating or working with each other on a regional MCI.
After the completion of our fall 2014 exercise, I heard over and over from participants that it was the best exercise they had ever participated in and it was very realistic. Thank you Stephanie for raising the bar for our county emergency planning!