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Sound Shore nurses ace emergency preparedness drill

Monday July 25, 2011
NICU nurse Elizabeth Goehl, RN, readies three infants in a Safe Babies vest for efficient evacuation, while Emergency Preparedness Incident Officer Tom Irving, SSMC's plant and construction administrator, and Patient Training Officer Robin TenEyek, director of patient access, observe and report.
NICU nurse Elizabeth Goehl, RN, readies three infants in a Safe Babies vest for efficient evacuation, while Emergency Preparedness Incident Officer Tom Irving, SSMC's plant and construction administrator, and Patient Training Officer Robin TenEyek, director of patient access, observe and report.
(Photo courtesy of Sound Shore)
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On June 1, Sound Shore Health System's member hospitals — Sound Shore Medical Center in New Rochelle, N.Y., Mount Vernon (N.Y.) Hospital and Schaffer Extended Care Center in New Rochelle — participated in an unannounced, systemwide emergency preparedness drill. The weather-related event required a timed, safe evacuation of mock patients to ensure readiness when real-life tragedy strikes and seconds count.

Sound Shore Health System's Emergency Preparedness Director Claire Donnelly, RN, MA, works year-round on education and mock exercises to ensure staff are properly trained for the unforeseen. She not only focuses on internal response, but also works with federal, state and local agencies to ensure cooperation and support when real-life emergencies occur. Drawing on the expertise of many departments, staff learned about possible issues and potentially life-saving responses to an array of situations in a recent educational event. The theme was "Don't Be Scared — Be Prepared."

During the drill, the ongoing training ensured all areas of the hospital were prepared to take immediate action and implement emergency plans. From the NICU to the ICU, patients were successfully transferred. Moving multiple patients from every unit in the hospital requires leadership, training, teamwork and a patient-first philosophy. With all these factors in place, the SSHS teams accomplished their goal of evacuating 175 patients in four hours or less — and they did so faster than the allotted time.

"We recognize our obligation to plan for potential tragedy," John R. Spicer, president and CEO of Sound Shore Health System, said in a news release. "The Sound Shore region can take comfort in our ongoing efforts to ensure our readiness."

For information, visit www.SoundShore.org.