HANCOCK COUNTY, Ill. The countywide emergency services disaster drill held on Saturday challenged emergency personnel in numerous ways.
The disaster drill scenario asked EMS crews in Augusta, Ill., Carthage, Ill., Hamilton, Ill., and Warsaw, Ill., to respond to various problems brought about by a 4.8 magnitude earthquake. Augusta and Hamilton had evacuation sites at their respective shelter care and nursing homes, while Carthage and Warsaw dealt with collapsed buildings. Some locations also did missing person reports and searches.
Memorial Hospital had its emergency room tested by handling additional patients with lowered weekend staffing and limited communication. The county health department dealt with problems in an interruption of flu vaccinations and calls for medical assistance around the county.
Each site had an evaluator who made notes on what was done well and what weaknesses showed up. Each site held its own evaluation meeting, and representatives from each site met at the University of Illinois Extension Center in Carthage Saturday afternoon to compare notes and hear from evaluators.
It was designed to test the limits of EMS, said Perry Cameron, Emergency Medical Service coordinator for Hancock County.
Montebello Healthcare Center in Hamilton did a full evacuation of its facility to a church next door. Their scenario involved a tower falling on their building. They also did a missing person search.