By Steve Woodhouse
Marion County — Knoxville Hospital and Clinics and Pella Regional Health Center, with Marion County Emergency Management, took part in an emergency drill this morning.
Cyndi Atkins with Pella Regional Health Center said these drills are done often, to measure the hospitals' preparedness for a real disaster. Every step of the disaster drill mimics what would happen in the event of an actual emergency. Hospital employees who took part in the disaster were unaware of the details regarding the kind of emergency would be simulated.
In this case, the simulation was a powder emergency that began in Knoxville. Ricin was the toxin discovered in the drill and the hospitals had to react. As the drill progressed, they learned it was a terror attack.
Along the way, the drill includes providing more and more information regarding the situation in pieces, as it would likely happen in reality. Hospital employees were also thrown people posing as media and others who may unexpectedly come into such a situation.
Upon completion of the drill at PRHC, when a "Code Green" was sent out, a group gathered to debrief and discuss the successes and failures of the drill.
Atkins said the hospitals are glad to participate in these kind of events, to show residents they are doing what they can to be prepared in the event of an actual incident.