DCCC to Host Week of Emergency Training as Part of Statewide Exercise

April 16, 2013 – The North Carolina State Medical Response System – the same one that was deployed to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte last year – will set up on the campus of Davidson County Community College as part of a week of activities that will help emergency personnel prepare for a disaster.

Events will take place from April 21-27; tours of the Rapid Response Unit will be offered to students, faculty, staff, the public and the media on April 25. Tours will begin at 9 a.m.

The Rapid Response Unit, a functional unit of the National Mobile Disaster Hospital that is owned by FEMA and managed by the North Carolina Office of EMS, offers a wide range of services in a 79,000 square-foot area. It includes a registration and waiting area, 21 beds, X-ray area, supply and storage distribution, operating rooms, lab and pharmacy area, a morgue, logistic support, medical surgical wards and more. The unit is used to provide hospital services to a community whose own hospital is either overwhelmed by a disaster or in need of assistance. Exercises performed during the week will be based on a small community hospital sustaining damage from severe weather.

The visit is part of a statewide exercise conducted by the State Medical Response System and the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Service, which allows emergency personnel to practice in the event of a real disaster – and in this case – a severe weather event.

“This exercise will test the ability of the State Medical Response System to deploy and operate during a disaster,” explains Mary Beth Skarote, coordinator of Healthcare Preparedness Response and Recovery for the Office of Emergency Medical Services who will manage the training exercise on campus. “The event will also test partnerships within the community – much like the relationship with the North Carolina Baptist Men Disaster Relief, who are housing the team and allowing them to use their kitchen during the week of testing, as well as the relationship with DCCC. Disaster response does not come with a blueprint to follow; these exercises are the only real way to functionally test our capabilities to handle the ‘real deal.’ It is also vitally important to build community relationships and test those agreements before an event happens.”

Throughout the week, the site will be visited by partners from the state and federal government, including the office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response and personnel from the Department of Health and Human Services.

“Close working relationships are essential to disaster response,” adds Jason Stogner from the Triad Regional Healthcare Coalition. “We train and exercise to enhance our capabilities and to strengthen these partnerships, which allows us to be better prepared for all types of disasters.”

The visit from the Rapid Response Unit and its team will also serve as an especially rewarding and unique educational opportunity for students at DCCC, who will have the chance to see firsthand what emergency personnel do in the event of a disaster.

“This exercise will provide great learning experience for our health care and EMS students, as well as faculty, to actually see a Mobile Disaster Hospital in action,” says Becky Daley, assistant dean in the School of Health, Wellness and Public Safety at DCCC. “This is an exciting and wonderful opportunity for our college and community. We were fortunate they asked us to host this training exercise.”

Founded in 1963, Davidson County Community College is noted for its quality educational programs and services. As one of 58 institutions within the North Carolina Community College System, DCCC offers studies in more than 50 degree programs. A fully-accredited, multi-campus college, DCCC celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. It is committed to developing minds, inspiring imaginations, and preparing students for enhanced career and educational opportunities within a changing global environment. Visit Davidson County Community College on the Web at davidsonccc.edu.