Southwestern Medical Center prepares for disaster with 'Code Black' - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Southwestern Medical Center prepares for disaster with 'Code Black'

Lawton_Dozens of pretend victims arrived on the doorstep of Southwestern Medical Center for a ‘Code Black.' Staff reacted quickly as the hospital has different codes to communicate what sort of situation they are dealing with. On Friday, they alerted staff to prepare for the worst.

The exercise that unfolded was a drill, and staff was not told when - or what - they would have to deal with. Despite the fact that injuries, or ‘deaths', weren't real, hospital officials formed a command enter to ensure ‘victims' who needed emergency care were tended to first - some with supposed missing limbs, bloodied arms, or difficulty walking. Emergency Department Director Vicky Winham was stationed at the Command Center. "Overall I oversee the ER. We take in patients we route them to the right place, make sure we have an even flow throughout the ER department," she said.

The job of Disaster Specialist James Dehaven is to find breakdowns and highlight them so things will run more smoothly next time. "Until you exercise that plan you don't know if it works, and from there you can build corrective actions," he said. He says he's looking for how well different departments such as fire, EMS, and police communicate, and how well staff interacts with patients.

Winham says that running through the drills makes a wold of difference in preparing for a real emergency. "Practice, practice, practice - when you practice everything runs smoother," she said. The hospital is required to run drills twice per year, and have helped so much it is considering doubling the number. The roles of Friday's ‘victims' were played by dozens of students from the Great Plains Technology Center.

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