University conducts successful crisis training, limited test of emergency alert system

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Case Western Reserve News Center


About 200 students; police, paramedic and fire personnel; and other Case Western Reserve University, University Circle and City of Cleveland safety staff converged on Adelbert Gym this past weekend to conduct a simulated large-scale disaster drill — the university's first mass casualty incident training.

The crisis training, coordinated by the student-led Case Western Reserve Emergency Medical Services (EMS) group, included a limited test of the university's new CaseWARN emergency text- and voice-messaging alert system. Full-scale, random testing of the CaseWARN system will take place during the spring semester. Details are forthcoming in Case Daily.

Students, faculty and staff who have yet to subscribe to the alerts -- that will be used, among other methods of communication, only in the case of imminent danger or a serious threat to the campus community -- can do so at any time. Those who previously subscribed to the alerts but are no longer with the university, will need to login to the CaseWARN notification page to turn off the alerts. In addition, subscribers must update the system if their phone numbers or cell carriers change.

The training event this past weekend consisted of three separate drills, all of which were conducted with minimal errors, after campus police set off a firecracker in a trashcan inside the gym to simulate an explosion and fire during a concert. The main issues encountered and quickly corrected dealt with communication among the varied responders at the scene.

After the mock explosion, Case EMS students triaged and "treated" patients with fabricated medical histories and mock maladies created with stage props, makeup and costumes.

The second part of the training, occurring concurrently with the response, treatment and transport of patients from Adelbert Gymnasium, involved the university administration's emergency response team and its reaction to this mass-casualty incident, including the setup of an incident command on campus and use of the CaseWARN rapid notification system.

During the final drill, the pretend patients were transported to University Hospitals Case Medical Center emergency room. The Cleveland Clinic provided ambulances for patient transport, and University Hospitals conducted a subsequent mass casualty drill at the hospital.

In addition to Case EMS, Case Police and Security Services and University Circle health care institutions, the University Circle Police Department, Cleveland Heights Fire Department and South Pointe Hospital participated in the preparedness exercise. MetroHealth Medical Center assisted with organization and drill planning.

For more information contact Jason Tirotta, 216.368.6890.

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