This week, the SouthEast Texas Regional Advisory Council (SETRAC) will host its annual Regional Healthcare Preparedness Coalition (RHPC) Catastrophic Medical Operation Center (CMOC) functional exercise April 14-16 at the Harris County Emergency Operations Center (EOC).
“The RHPC hosts an annual exercise to allow regional and local healthcare agencies to test current emergency plans, policies and procedures ahead of an actual emergency,” said SETRAC Regional Preparedness Operations Director Lori A. Upton. “Exercises like these allow us to find gaps in our plans, and correct them before a real event occurs.”
According to SETRAC, “A functional exercise examines the coordination, command and control between various multi-agency coordination centers. Although a functional exercise does not involve first responders or emergency officials responding to an incident in real time, some area hospitals will be conducting specific training like decontamination scenarios to test their personnel.”
SETRAC said, “The exercise is primarily for healthcare agencies, emergency medical services (EMS) and hospitals, but was also open to area jurisdictions, schools, local offices of emergency management and public health agencies.”
More than 170 agencies will participate in the exercise.
“This year we will simulate a mass casualty incident, similar to the Boston Marathon bombing, to allow hospitals, EMS and CMOC to manage a large-scale mass casualty incident,” Upton said. “We will conduct the same scenario five times, once in each corridor.”
The scenario that’s being simulated involves an explosion at a public event and a chemical release. It’s designed to help test the region’s ability to manage a large-scale simulated terrorist attack and surge and mass fatality plans in the region.
CMOC will activate at the Harris County EOC, located at Houston TranStar, all other agencies will participate from their own facilities.
SETRAC has two separate missions: the Hospital Preparedness Program and clinical service lines. SETRAC prepares its 25 county regionfor manmade and natural emergencies, disasters and mass casualty events. Trauma, stroke, cardiac and pediatric service lines focus on establishing protocols and standards of care to deliver our community the appropriate care through the appropriate facilities with the appropriate care givers.
RHPC is the preparedness committee of SETRAC. RHPC provides collaborative planning and response to emergencies, and preserves the medical infrastructure of the region.