Huntsville, Ala. (April2, 2012) — Students from The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing will stage a mock disaster drill on Thursday, April 5.

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 schedule from 8 a.m., to 10:30 a.m., in Wilson Hall on the UAH campus. The disaster drill debriefing will be from 10:30 a.m., to 12:30 p.m. The College of Nursing began conducting annual disaster drills in the spring of 2005.

This year, in an effort to expand the coordination of response efforts on campus, the Office of Emergency Preparedness (OEP) and university administrators will participate with the College of Nursing in a full-scale "live" disaster drill and tabletop simulator module. Based on real-world scenarios, tabletop simulations have been successfully used as teaching tools by emergency management and community agencies for response and command training.

"The tabletop simulation will occur simultaneously with the with the disaster drill," said Marta Browning, clinical associate professor of nursing and coordinator of the event. "The 'fictitious' scenario this year is an F5 tornado touch down in Huntsville and surrounding areas. Both hospitals in Huntsville are overwhelmed with critically injured patents and the university's College of Nursing is forced to act as a disaster response crisis center.

"The senior nursing student clinicians will face multiple challenges managing victims in the chaotic aftermath of a tornado and coordinating their responses with members of OEP and UAH administrators responding to the disastrous situation," she said.

Browning 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.

For more information

Joyce Anderson-Maples, (256) 824-2101