CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston Area Medical Center's hospitals are preparing for an active shooter situation, widespread infections and trauma cases simultaneously during an emergency response exercise Thursday.
Officials hope the drill will prepare staff for emergencies that could arise when thousands of people flood into the area for the Boy Scouts of America Jamboree, which will be held July 15 to 24 in Fayette and Raleigh counties.
CAMC participates in a regional emergency response exercise each year as part of a grant program with the West Virginia Hospital Association. The group tries to mimic a real-life event applicable to the area, said Lillian Morris, the corporate director for safety at CAMC, during the Board of Trustees meeting Wednesday morning.
More than 40,000 Scouts, volunteers and staff are anticipated to attend the National Scout Jamboree, which will be held at The Summit: Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve for the first time. Morris expects more than 100,000 visitors to the area.
"That means something for hospitals, as well," she said. "We anticipate that we will have patients that come to us for injuries on the campsite or a variety of problems that could occur with the large number of folks."
The scouts will have on-site medical services to take care of minor injuries. State emergency medical services will handle transportation. Morris said at the last Jamboree, the Boy Scouts of America reported 704 total patients who were transported to area hospitals. Of those, 337 patients were admitted to a facility. Of the 337 inpatients, 23 were critical and 38 were serious.
"We try to get a handle on what we might be looking at for the number of patients that could impact the hospitals in our area. That's a significant impact on area hospitals for an increase in the number of admissions," Morris said. "We don't have specific info on the diagnosis on why people were admitted, but we certainly know trauma, and cardiac cases would be on that list."
The three CAMC branches in Charleston will begin the exercise approximately at 8:30 a.m. and will finish around noon.
CAMC Women and Children's Hospital will execute a drill plan that will simulate the response to a large amount of people coming in with infectious diseases. This addresses concerns that some Fayette County-area hospitals are having about snakebites in the area.
General Hospital will have an active shooter exercise at the hospital, which will be held in a maintenance department away from patient care areas. Approximately 20 volunteers will play victims to help test the communication and planning of the facility.
"General is having a very unique exercise that will probably get a good bit of notice because it's going to be visible to our local community," Morris said. "There will be a lot of police presence -- lots of police cars. Traffic will be slowing down on that block."