UAH nursing students stage annual mock "disaster drill"

disaster relief practice

The UAH College of Nursing's "mock" disaster drill is Friday, Nov. 10.

Michael Mercier | UAH

Students from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing will stage a mock disaster drill on Friday, Nov. 10.

The annual drill includes several "public health emergencies" that occur during potentially life or death weather and accident related situations. These include exposure to chemical or hazardous wastes, power or gas main leaks, and management of communicable disease outbreaks, which may require quarantine.

The victim triaging and treatment is scheduled from 9 a.m., to noon, in the UAH College of Nursing building located on campus at 1619 Ben Graves Dr NW. The event debriefing will immediately follow the disaster drill. The College of Nursing began conducting annual disaster drills in the spring of 2005.

The drill scenario this year will be an F5 tornado touch down in Huntsville. With all three hospitals in Huntsville overwhelmed with critically injured patents, the university's College of Nursing is forced to act as a disaster response crisis center.

"Disaster preparedness is an important part of life as we know it. With the recent hurricanes and flooding, as well as the Las Vegas shooting, we see that disasters can occur at any time and any place. Preparedness is the best way to improve outcomes," said Dr. Melissa Lonnergan (DNP, RN, CNS, IBCLC) UAH Clinical Assistant Professor, Course Manager of Community Health Nursing.

UAH senior nursing student clinicians will face multiple challenges managing victims in the chaotic aftermath of the "tornado," coordinating their responses with members of the College of Nursing faculty.

Lonnergan said the main goals of the disaster drill include:

  • Preparation of Baccalaureate nursing students and graduates in emergency response management
  • Evaluation of clinical decision making of senior nursing students
  • Training students to stage and evaluate disaster simulations as a clinical skill to be transferred into other community and clinical settings
  • Collaboration with OEP to improve (campus community) internal emergency response policies and procedures
  • Promotion of interoperability (combination of all disaster response workers to provide and accept services from other systems) to respond better to disaster emergencies.


Dr. Melissa Lonnergan